Friday, March 18, 2016

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Original title: Janghwa, Hongryeon

Director: Kim Jee-woon

Writer: Kim Jee-woon

Composer: Lee Byung-woo

Starring: Kim Kap-su, Yum Jung-ah, Lim Su-Jeong, Moon Geun-young, Woo Ki-Hong, Lee Dae-Yeon, Lee Seung-bi, Park Mi-Hyun

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Our sorrow was conceived long before our birth

Plot: Two sisters who, after spending time in a mental institution, return to the home of their father and cruel stepmother. Once there, in addition to dealing with their stepmother's obsessive and unbalanced ways, an interfering ghost also affects their recovery.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

It took two nights to finish this South Korean drama/thriller/horror.  In fairness, I should know better not to start watching a movie super late at night.  On the other hand, this is a VERY slow moving film but it's deliberate and it's necessary in telling the story.  I thought I had it figured out early on but there were some monkey wrenches thrown in to dispel my theory...only to turn out to be half true.  No spoilers here but this is definitely a film that demands repeat viewings.  It's well-acted and it looks fantastic.  Some will be blown away by the ending, others won't even make it that far before shutting it off.  The last twenty minutes lasted two hours and it was confusing and disorienting.  Again, I shouldn't finish watching a movie at 2 am, having been sleepy for a couple of hours to begin with.  Afterward I asked the internet to help me out and it did.  I partially understood what was going on with the last act but it took a few answers to some complicated questions to make full sense of what I saw.  I'm a little curious to see how it would play out on a second viewing but I can't see that happening anytime soon.  Plus, by waiting a few years, I will have completely forgotten everything about it and I'd still be semi-confused.  It's a vicious cycle that has no brakes...but the banana seat is super sweet.  The Red Sun 2-disc DVD set has loads of extras and the anamorphic widescreen print looks gorgeous.  I've seen a couple of Jee-woon's pictures and I like what he does but this one is just on the border of will I watch it or not.  It's a good film if you can stay awake for it.  Oh, and don't go into this thinking it's a horror film.  It's more drama with thriller and horror elements but people who dig psychological, cerebral horror should get a kick out of it.

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