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HONG Gildong is an infallible private detective with an exceptional memory and quirky personality. While chasing the only target he failed to find, he gets entangled in a much bigger conspiracy than he bargained for.
Hyuk-Jin has just broken up with his girlfriend and decides to take a trip to Jeongseon in the province of Gangwon-do. The next day, his friends are too hung over to get up, so Hyuk-Jin makes his way to his destination alone. A trip of opportunity takes a cruel and unexpected turn as misunderstanding and crossed paths occur over and over again.Written by
Jeonju International Film Festival listing
While sloshing back copious amounts of alcohol with his buddies at a bar in Seoul, our hero, the quiet but amiable chump Hyuk-jin, gets duped into meeting up with his drinking buddies the following day at a resort town somewhere in rural Korea, in what appears to be the dead of winter. Hyuk-jin dutifully gets on a bus the following morning to make the appointed rendezvous, but alas, his friends - who were apparently full of both hot air and alcohol - fail to show up. This leaves Hyuk-jin to fend for himself and still try to have a good time at, well, at a resort town in rural Korea in the dead of winter.
As if this isn't dismal enough, well, trust me, things start to go from bad to worse for our luckless hero. But it's the way in which things start to deteriorate for him that makes this movie so compelling. The movie is almost entirely free of the loud, obvious gags and pratfalls that you'd expect to find in, say, a Hollywood movie. This movie is a masterpiece of subtlety and understatement. Events move at a slow but steady pace - maybe too slow for the patience of some viewers who are more accustomed to faster action. But for me, that was a big part of the charm of this movie: the way it just rolled along at a gradual pace, absolutely sucking me into Hyuk-jin's steadily deteriorating adventure.
As I said in the summary line, the movie has a lot of feel. The action takes place in winter, and you actually feel the icy cold. There's a poignant scene where Hyuk-jin gets robbed - oh, and the robbers also had the "courtesy" of stealing his pants - and he's dumped by the side of the highway. Dead of winter. Rural Korea. Far away from a police station. Nobody bothers to help him. No pants Believe me, YOUR legs will be shivering when you watch that scene! Our hero encounters a bevy of questionable and at times really unlikable people, and believe me, you too will actually feel a palpable dislike for them!
I really enjoyed this movie. It has lots of subtle attention to detail, and although it's a bit slow paced, it makes up for it by constantly making you really care about what happens to the main character. The ending is a bit abrupt and enigmatic, which is a little jarring, I guess because you actually want to see what else lies ahead for our hapless hero, Hyuk-jin. But I like to think that he's somewhere safely back in Seoul and, having learned a few of life's hard lessons, will never make this sort of "adventure" again.
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