Entertainment News

REVIEW The Yellow Sea

Date: 2010.12.22


Goo-nam (Ha Jung-woo) is heavy in debt yet he can't get his hands off mah-jong. He is then approached by Myun-ga (Kim Yun-seok) who tells him he can start everything anew if he does her the favor of killing a certain person in Seoul. So that is how he takes off from Yanbian to the capital city of Korea, all to just accomplish that task. Meanwhile Tae-won (Jo Sung-ha) feels uneasy over the murder he requested as it did not end quite as clean-cut as he expected. As the setting changes from Yanbian to Seoul, then to Busan following the chase between Gu-nam who entered Korea to do his job and also to find out the whereabouts of his wife whom he lost contact with since she left in search for a job, and Myun-ga who comes to get rid of Gu-nam, the film turns more and more into a world of primal instincts that demands more and more blood. As monstrous as the film has turned out to be, this may be something viewers may catch on from the very first cut in the film as this is what "The Yellow Sea" is.


Anticipation Quotient: 8 out of 10

Adding something fearsome to the Yellow Sea

The three men in the film "The Yellow Sea" are all after each other's neck but not for the reason of simply demonstrating one's power or for monetary gains. When all three characters -- Gu-nam who decides to kill for money, Myun-ga who goes overboard to collect his payment and Tae-won who began the mess in the first place -- collide into each other, the film strictly turns into a site where fierce confrontation takes place between primal instinct in which one has to kill the other to survive. Because everyone is equally desperate to survive, there is nothing aesthetic about the action in the film nor does it bother to show bare skin. This is why "The Yellow Sea" is more a film of 'sense' rather than 'sentiment.' The instinctual move to aimed only at survival drives one to attack the other's shoulder blade or stomach while the music and sound effect whose beat is deliberately made to resemble the human being's heartbeat digs straight into the heart of the audience. Director Na Hong-jin who was recognized for the excellent chase scene in his former film "The Chaser (2008)" again shows his talent in this film as well, using not just music but also sounds of car horns, the noise of car tires and the roaring of car engines, meticulously arranged like an actors lines in a script.

The film that took complete control over all sense in the film for its likes, ends up changing the very faces of its actors. Kim Yun-seok has truly changed into a wild beast who is forced to attack with just about anything he can get his hands on -- a sword, an axe or even a bone of a dog. Ha Jung-woo with his bare face too, dons a kind of expression that "The Yellow Sea" wishes to deliver to its the audience. Director Na in his 156-minute film divided into four chapters, practically wrote about the history of the building of primal instincts, how they get awakened by chance, how they crash with other instincts and the ending to it all. Had he given more commercial consideration he could have made the running time more compact. The latter half of the film drags on a bit due to the repeated pattern of killings and chase. Therefore dividing the film in chapters to show three people's perspectives from beginning to end is 100 percent director Na's own doing. "The Yellow Sea" that pushed all its characters to their limits -- to the point of getting worried about the actors -- premieres on December 22.

Reporter: Lee Ji-Hye seven@
Editor : Heidi Kim heidikim@
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Source 10.asiae.co.kr

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