Amid the time of Korean War, a young boy's vow to take care of his family marked the beginning of a lifelong promise spanning 60 years.Amid the time of Korean War, a young boy's vow to take care of his family marked the beginning of a lifelong promise spanning 60 years.Amid the time of Korean War, a young boy's vow to take care of his family marked the beginning of a lifelong promise spanning 60 years.
Synopsis - Amid the chaos of refugees fleeing the Korean War in December 1950, a young boy, Duk- soo, sees his fate change in the blink of an eye when he loses track of his younger sister and he leaves his father behind to find her. Settling in Busan, Duk-soo devotes himself to his remaining family, working all manner of odd jobs to support them in place of his father. His dedication leads him first to the deadly coal mines of Germany, where he meets his first love, Youngja, and then to war-torn Vietnam in this generational epic about one man's personal sacrifices.
Review - This film is ambitious in wanting to depict 60 years of tumultuous history through the life of one man. IMHO the movie manages to do just that. I like the strong sense of place and time. The staging of the epic scenes is so outstanding, I was easily pulled into the story. Absolutely love that refugee fleeing scene of Hungnam in 1951 which later becomes part of North Korea. It was heartbreaking to see how a pair of sister and brother get separated in the chaos. I also love the brilliant use of flashbacks to move the plot. How the flashbacks are triggered is seamlessly and creatively done.
Jeong-min Hwang (of New World fame) who plays Duk-soo, gives his character a cheeriness balanced with a sense of dogged purpose. His positive energy is affable and infectious, and his stubborn bickering with his wife and good friend, the source of many jokes. Dal-su Oh, Korea's busiest supporting actor plays Duk-soo's best friend, Dal-gu through the years. Their relationship is painted with much comedic strokes and full-hearted poignancy without those usual skull-numbing stylistics.
The immediate film you will no doubt compare this Korean film with is Forrest Gump which isn't a bad thing. But the similarity is only with its use of historical events. With Forrest Gump, a man is sanctified to God-like status and he unknowingly changes history, but with this one it doesn't walk that path. This is a story of a man whose his father's parting words at Hungnam haunts him to his core and he would take the entire duration of his life to live up to his father's words. The movie maintains an even tone throughout and I feel it is the historical events that change him. This is a film possessing a remarkable balance of sentimentality and harshness, light and darkness.
- Apr 21, 2015