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Warm cinematography and an inviting production design ultimately servicing a thoroughly constructed central relationship
OH! BROTHERS (2003) Directed by Kim Yong-hwa. The number 6 box office charter of 2003, this is an odd, needlessly complicated tale of a debt collector/blackmail photographer/missing person finder Sang Woo (Lee Jung-jae) learning upon his father's death that he has a half-brother - mentally deficient man-child Bong-ku (Lee Beom-su) - whose mother, if he can find her, will be legally forced to absolve him of his father's hefty debt. Not surprisingly, Sang-woo discovers Bong-ku's creepy affectations and appearance (at one point he's dressed up like the killer doll Chucky in a dream sequence), make him the ideal 'muscle' to have on the job, particularly when a sleazy cop forces Sang-woo to get staged adultery photos of the police superintendent in order to expand the jurisdiction of his extortion program.
There's also a subplot that sees the pair trying to unite a deaf woman, at the behest of her estranged sister, with their dying father and which mirrors much of the boys situation and allows for plenty of tears. Lee Beom-su's performance as Bong-ku, written as the comedic centerpiece of the film, is largely played as a grown man who ACTS like a precocious ass rather than a grown man with a mental age of 12, thus undermining much of the pathos the filmmakers try to wring from his relationship with Sang-woo.
Technical production is superb, with warm cinematography and an inviting production design ultimately servicing a thoroughly constructed central relationship that seems designed to feature as many piano-backed scenes of teary catharsis between sensitive new age Korean males. Moderate, but occasionally serious head slapping rates this a 4 on the Korean Cranial Abuse Scale. The overall movie rates a 4 as well.
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