So I still haven't finished watching "친구." I talked to Boyfriend about it. Since he's Korean and all, I thought he might be able to justify my feelings of dissatisfaction with the film. Our conversation went a little something like this:
Ash: So I watched this movie, "친구," the other day.
BF: Oh yea? What did you think?
Ash: Well, actually I thought it was pretty boring. I didn't finish watching it.
BF: Yea, I guess that might be boring to you cause you're not Korean, but it made Busan guys look really cool.
There you have it. If you're from Busan, check out the film. Otherwise... meh? Of course, Boyfriend is from Busan.
I still feel like I should finish watching it, but alas, I've already moved on. A friend noticed my interest in Korean movies and kindly recommended "실미도." He prefaced this recommendation with "It's not awesome, but it's watchable." More proof that I have have terrible taste because I really enjoyed it.
실미도 is the name of an island that belongs to Korea. The film, which is apparently based on a true story, tells the story of a group of convicts and death-row inmates who are sent to this island to become an elite Kim Il Sung assassination squad. Their identities are erased, but they have a chance to redeem themselves by becoming the greatest heroes to their divided country. In a twist of fate, their assassination mission is terminated, and the government decides to terminate the team as well. The men must fight against their own government and the officers who trained them to preserve their place in history.
Terrible reasons why I like this movie:
I like any story when bad guys are rehabilitated and become awesome ass-kicking heroes. These days we're seeing a lot of films that explore possible "uses" for convicts and law-breakers, but they always seem to be in some kind of death game for the average person's viewing pleasure. I like this movie because it treats the bad guys like real characters who grow and change.
The exploration of identity issues is really cool. All of the men essentially lose their past identities when they are "executed." They must all painfully redefine themselves. One character is the son of a traitorous communist. He must find a way to escape his father's legacy. The best scene in the movie for me is when the men finally realize they are doomed to die. Their biggest fear is that their nation will believe the lies that they are communist soldiers instead of heroes. They end up all screaming their names and writing them in blood on the inside of a bus before committing mass suicide. Very John Proctor. "You have taken my soul. Leave me my name!" Totally badass.
I find the idea fascinating that there are things in our history which have been kept secret and are slowly leaked over time. The ending of the movie is really cool.
I guess that's all. On a side note, this movie is pretty long, so if you plan on watching it, make sure you have a good couple of hours.