Sunday, 7 February 2010

Gwoemul (The Host)

Should I describe The Host as a dramatic nail biting drama, as one dysfunctional family are bought together through a series of tragic events...

No, its a film with a big FRIGGIN MONSTER IN IT!

In recent years, Hollywood has sold short the big rubber monster genre, producing half hearted efforts, which concentrated more on the CGI and shaky cameras than anything else. Thankgod for the Koreans. Here in The Host are all the great elements needed for the genre, and a bit more...

First off, as those of you who attended Rubber Monster Class 101 will know, the best monsters come about either from small children flushing things down the toilets, or government officials dumping toxic chemicals. The creature in the host, is the result of the latter, with an OCD American pathologist telling his assistant to dump a fair-load of formaldehyde down the drain. The Koreans take quite a few swings at the Americans throughout the film, which I believe stems from a real life incident in 2000 where a civilian US Contractor, did dump chemicals into the Han River.

I should also note, that they also take another fair few swings at their own government as well. Which brings us to the black humour in the film, which is delivered in healthy doses throughout. In the absence of anything to compare it to, I think its safe to say has a distinctive Korean touch. - It will make you laugh out loud.

Now onto the star of the show, the Monster. It looks like some sort of prehistoric giant salamander, and according to the director and monster designer, they based it on Steve Buscemi persona in Fargo. One of the things, that stood out for me, was the movement of the monster. It had that old time rubber monster feel. A product I imagine, was a result of the films relative low budget (10 Million USD). Saying that, some of the scenes where it is moving under the bridge is quite smooth, so could it be deliberate design I wonder ? Either way, its a good-un, Far better than anything Hollywood has chucked our way in years.

This film is chock full of memorable scenes ( I don't want to spoil them, so I won't mention any of them here), and if this is what Korean cinema has to offer, let us embrace if fully. Get this film, pour yourself some instant noodles and prepare to be fully entertained for two hours.

Korea, I ask thee; More please!

Official Site
The Host (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) - Amazon Link

Ps. For those of you interested in such things, the cinematography is absolutely top notch, Hyung Goo Kim the DOP has definetly put a stamp on this film.

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