The disconnections of urban life. Yun-ju is diffident, almost without affect; his wife is pregnant, and he's wonders if he should bribe the dean to secure a professorship. He's also bothered by a yapping dog that disturbs him in the large block of flats where he lives. Hyeon-nam is equally disengaged; she's a bookkeeper at same block of flats, animated only when she learns of a lost dog. Over the course of a few weeks, three dogs in the building go missing - Yun-ju and Hyeon-nam have a connection to each. So might a janitor. Is it a man-eat-dog world? Is there any cure for this ennui? Can anyone connect?Written by
Originally the role of Yun-ju was designed for another actor who Bong Joon Ho was drawn to while working on the film Motel Cactus (1997). But when it came to shooting the film, the actor who Bong referred to as "P", disappeared completely and he ended up casting Sung-Jae Lee in the role. See more »
Barking Dogs Never Bite
Composed and performed by Cherry Filter See more »
If Slight, Still Very Satisfying
It's possible that this dark comedy will slip from my memory before too long, but as I write this just having viewed the film (on home video), I have to say it made for an excellent viewing experience. It's rare to see a comedy in this day and age with such an offbeat sense of humor, let alone one that keeps viewers guessing so much as to where the plot will head next. There's also a lot of care put into the cinematography and editing of this film, adding some extra layers of satisfaction from a cinephilic perspective; this is one comedy that doesn't insult the viewer's intelligence, and need never be regarded as a guilty pleasure.
Specifically, the way this issue pinpoints its moment in time regarding Korean culture's evolving relationship with dogs is constantly mined for humor, but also provides moments of real insight and touching emotion.
I watched this film on the strength of director Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder, an excellent thriller with a deep mordant streak. If this previous film had to be nailed down to a genre, I'd call it a dark comedy -- albeit an extremely idiosyncratic one -- but there are effective splashes of the thriller and horror genres throughout, not to mention some nicely done surrealistic touches. All in all, these two films make me sorely regret missing Bong Joon-ho's "Host" at this year's Toronto film fest; I've added his name to my short list of Korean directors (the others being Park Chan-wook, Hong Sang-soo, and Kim Ki-duk) to follow closely.
22 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this