TJ Reddy on 27th Jun 2019, 5:35pm
Park Chan-Wook gave me an 11/10 movie with Oldboy. I cannot in good conscience say any movie apart from Parasite reaches that level, for me personally. But everything else around that centrepiece is always a 9 or 10. I connect personally to all his films. For example, in Lady Vengeance, I so vividly remember the colour palette going from B&W to colour (or colour to B&W depending on the version you watched) and being so drawn into the storytelling because of it. I didn’t realise that until the final act and I went back to see that the colour had changed over time and how much it had added to my unease. With his films, there is something more than the story that is always going on. It hits me right in the soul.
Until Parasite, I've liked every single one of Bong Joon-Ho's films as well, but they never hit me in the feels like Chan-Wook’s work. Many 9 and 10/10s because of the mastery in storytelling and directing but they just weren’t emotionally resonant enough, for me. However, he is extremely competent and each one of his films has left me with a different reading of the story being told when compared to most of my film buff friends. Example, I consider Okja as a coming-of-age tale more than an animal rights joint and Memories of Murder as a meditation about how easy it is for your life to be something so wholly different than what you know and how powerless you might be to influence the course of it. Great themes, all of them.
But with Parasite, he hit me in the soul. There is a line in there about people who take public transport which touched me so deeply that it vaulted the film from great to unforgettable. Everything else, just built around that. It became a personal experience after that. Whatever flaws there may have been went to the overlooked section because of how pure my emotional response was to it. The film didn’t do that with melodramatic line-readings and over-the-top manipulative music. It was just an innocuous line and every little piece of story that led to that line. The foreshadowing the film did by using bugs, the film’s two primary settings, the clear description of what the characters were smelling, the manner with which that specific shot is staged and the character’s journeys and mindsets. I was there with Sang Kang-Ho’s character. And as sappy as it sounds, it felt like I saw the world through his eyes and that character was shining a light on mine. I had the same feeling with Oldboy when Oh Dae-Su makes his sacrifice to Lee Woo-JIn.
The reply got a tad too long but hey, I love discussing great cinema.
P.S. - did not have an option to reply so a message all unto itself.
KABIR SINGH REVIEW
When asked about what they would change in regard to their films, most filmmakers say, "I'd still be stuck in a dark room with my editor ironing out scenes again and again and again till I get them right. The only reason the film is being released now is that there is a pre-set release date." The opportunity afforded to writer/director Sandeep Reddy Vanga when helming Kabir Singh is one in a million. He was given a chance to comb through Arjun Reddy, identify its strengths and shortcomings, and make his retelling of that story, better. The million-dollar question now is, "Did he do it?"