a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman


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On paper the plot sounds interesting. Over-stressed office worker, Hae-won (Seo Young-he), goes for some R and R to an off-the-map island where she lived with her grandparents as a child. She reunites with her childhood friend, Bok-nam (Ji Sung-won) and soon discovers what a horrific and degraded life she has living amongst a community of tropical hillbillies. The situation goes from bad to worse with Bok-nam finally losing it, getting her revenge and making dead meat of her brutal sexist husband, his creepy idiot brother, and a quartet of bitter old crones (including her step-mother) who maintain the perverse status-quo of their insular community. First-time director Jang Cheol-soo directs his actors with broad swipes, painting archetypical caricatures. He sets up a fun foreboding milieu. Then he throws it all away with a grotesque, psychologically suspect and mostly, incoherent gore fest that goes on far too long and ultimately sinks whatever good things set up at the beginning. By the time the bloody and crazed Bok-nam finally dies, one’s past the point of caring.

Originally published in EL Magazine, April 2011

Written by Nicholas Vroman

March 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

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