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Bamboo Chu-Sheng Chen,
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A widowed father and taxi driver who drives a German reporter from Seoul to Gwangju to cover the 1980 uprising, soon finds himself regretting his decision after being caught in the violence around him.
Energetic, anarchic (and slightly black) comedy that works.
Cabbie is a film which is quite easy to classify and rate, but hard to summarize. It is an energetic (and often black) comedy that hits the target on many counts. So much for genre, put what about plot? From other reviews, one might think that it is only about the efforts of a young cabbie to win over the woman he has fallen for (a traffic cop), but this only really takes up about the last third of the movie. Before then, one is introduced to the members of his family: his father (who owns the taxi company), his mother (who is a coroner), his sister (a budding chemist who later works for a drug company) and the man she marries (another chemist). These introductions are fleshed out by several episodes from the characters' history, and all of these are actually a long flashback from the mind of the cabbie himself. An assortment of such devices, such as flashbacks, digressions, voiceovers (and even the on-screen fast-forwarding of action) occur throughout the film, contributing to its slightly manic, anarchic spirit, though without losing the viewer in the process.
The humour is very well done, mixing absurd situations, endearing performances, and an enthusiastic dark streak with refreshing originality. The performances are excellent, especially from the lead actor, Chu Chung-Heng as the cabbie himself, who is well supported by those playing the rest of his family. Japanese actress Miyazawa Rie also stands out as the attractive traffic cop whom he falls for.
In sum, this is a thoroughly enjoyable comedy, with an infectious sense of the absurd and a flavoursome dark streak that prevents it from becoming 'cute'. I don't know if an English subtitled version exists anywhere, but this film could be enjoyed by anyone with a sense of humour and really does deserve a wide audience.
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