By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) –
By now you may have read one of my other reviews of Korean movies, and figured out that my opinion of Korean filmmaking is rather high. Then again, I don’t usually take a complete shots in the dark on them, so that’s understandable. Recently though, I did just that and Spoiler Alert… Koreans can make bad movies too.
Parallel Life is “based” on physicist Kurt Gödel’s theories in the same way The Butterfly Effect is based on Chaos Theory or something. Anyway, the idea is that some? people relive the same lives as others did in the past, like JFK and Abraham Lincoln did, according to the internets. Yu Hyeon-seong, a young, distinguished judge who seems to have it all, until his life begins to unravel in a way suspiciously similar to that of another rising judicial star… 30 years ago. Of course that guy and his whole family were murdered, so it’s not the most flattering of comparisons. Can he avoid the same fate? Is someone stringing him along? Will the director resist incorporating every cheap, overplayed editing trick he’s every seen into his debut? Hint: They all have the same answer.
The title sequence is pretty snazzy. The movie goes downhill pretty fast after that though.
While noted crazy person Gödel did exist, the film’s premise seems to rest solely on all of those “creepy” Lincoln/JFK similarities. Well, about that…
Once again, to the rescue.
That’s okay, compelling films have been made with much more logically unsound premises. Like, if the acting is good enough to draw you in and make you empathize with the characters no matter what. Unfortunately, the casting director looked no further than his local mime school, as the actors in this film’s go-to move is gross exaggeration whenever they’re asked to display any emotion at all. All except for the wife, who I dubbed Korean January Jones. She’d be a winner playing an alien trying to disguise itself as human, but actual human roles are much less of a fit.
Do I look like a ‘people’ yet?
First time director Kweon Ho-young makes the actors look like seasoned Shakespearean thesps by comparison, though. Virtually every stylistic choice he makes is simply terrible. The film is overedited to hell, and seems to borrow its techniques exclusively from only the cheapest music videos and teen vampire shows.
This leads to all of the editing and music forming “cues” that are both hammy and obvious as fuck.
So much ham.
If you’ve seen any sort of filmed entertainment ever, you’ll know precisely where the movie is going at every point, and you will HATE the movie for this.
All of those “twists” the film’s been telegraphing for the last hour? Yep, they all come home to roost in a ridiculously long, hyper-edited finale that just leaves you exhausted (and glad that most of the characters are dead).
A truly awful, painfully derivative “high concept” thriller. Expect an American remake starring Nicolas Cage any day now.
Take a Drink: creepster glower!
Take a Drink: whenever someone says some form of “coincidence” or “crazy”
Take a Drink: every time the judge’s phone rings
Do a Shot: whenever someone says something happened 30 years ago
Prediction Contest: take turns predicting plot twists. Everyone who is wrong, Take a Shot. Don’t worry, though, you won’t need much liquor.