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This movie is about a young woman who lives with her downbeat brother and alcoholic sister, but she's a compulsive liar who constantly gives the impression that she has more money than she actually has. For example, she'll visit a high-end car dealership and peruse the cars, or she'll visit a high-end apartment complex and take a tour of the facilities. But she'll never actually buy anything. Then she'll go and tell her work colleagues that she's engaged to marry and looking to purchase a new house. So she lives this facade while in the presence of others, as well as when she's by herself. So there's a deep-rooted mentality behind all of this. And that's what this film is about.
I recently reviewed a Korean film by the name of "Madonna" recently. That movie was more concerned with story and plotting. "The Liar" is not that concerned with those things. This is a character interaction movie that gives you insight into our protagonist by showing her interactions with other people. Some of the more interesting moments occur when her co-workers or other people begin to see the cracks in her lies and gain the impression that there's something fishy about her constant gloating. Her relationship with her "boyfriend" is also rather fascinating, for reasons that I won't get into.
But I will say that our protagonist frequently exhibits a very cold, artificial personality that thrives on materialism. However, she also has a genuine concern for her siblings. Throughout the film, she tries to help them and push them to be better, when she can. There's also a deep sense of frustration that bubbles to the surface, which is driven primarily by the difficulties of life. These aspects help to create a multi-dimensional character who has just enough relatability. As a viewer, I was almost rooting for her to succeed in her lies because I did not want to see her get confronted and placed in uncomfortable situations.
One reason for this is Kkob-bi Kim's juggernaut performance. I became a fan of this actress about a decade ago when I saw "Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater", and I gotta say that she's been good in practically everything she's been in – from "Breathless" to "Pluto" to "Greatful Dead." She's fantastic in "The Liar" and carries this film completely on her shoulders. I kid you not, she is in every single scene in this movie. That's some serious heavy lifting, and she great in this and definitely helps to keep the viewer engaged. I found her character to be fascinating.
The director here is Dong-myung Kim, and this appears to be her first feature length film. I definitely look forward to her future projects. You know, I've recently covered – unintentionally – three really talented female directors from South Korea. We had Ga-eun Yoon (from "The World of Us"), Su-won Shin (from "Madonna"), and now Dong-myung Kim (from "The Liar"). Well, this is an impressive list of films and I really hope that these ladies continue making films with the same high standards.
A few more points to make here. The major theme here is commercialism, as you might expect – and that makes this movie very relevant for practically everyone. It doesn't go over the top either in terms of throwing in characters who are billionaires or K-pop stars to make its point. Every character in this movie is grounded, realistic, and probably similar to someone we know in real life. I loved the ending too, because it is sharply ironic and drives home the whole point of the film.
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