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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Punch (2011)


Country: South-Korea
Format: movie
Genre: youth, drama
Cast: Yoo Ah Ni, Kim Yoon Seuk, Jasmine B. Lee, Park Su Young, Ahn Gil kang, Kim Sang Ho, Park Hyo Joo, Kang Byul, Kim Young Jae, Sudip Banerjee,
Synopsis: Growing up story about Do Wan Deuk who is a sophomore in high school but does not have any thoughts on future. His father is former cabaret performer with a hunchback, he does not know a thing about his mother and is only good at fighting. His views start to change when his hated and annoying home-room teacher (and almost a neighbor) Dong Jo tells him that his mom is much closer to him than he thinks and actually wants to see him. 
Rating: 2/5
This is really everyday-ish movie.. well, as everyday life as it can be, but it still is just a little slice of Do Won Deuk's life. I hope you get the point. It is based on same-named novel ("Wandeuk") by Kim Ryeo-Ryeon, but with some changes as adding Ho Jung (Dong Jo's love interest) to the movie and changing Wan Deuk's mother from Vietnamese to Filipina.
The most important part of the movie is the relationship between Wan Deuk and his teacher Dong Jo.
Like usually, teacher is trying to reach out and help his lonely student, which is something we can see in many Korean and Japanese dramas/movies. At first, Wan Deuk almost hates Dong Jo, because he is everywhere and is always putting his nose into Wan Deuk's business, but slowly the boy starts to see his teacher in another way - like when seeing Dong Jo's late-night spying on one woman; getting to know Dong Jo's relationship with immigrants and foreign labor or just realizing how Dong Jo is trying to protect him. By the end, they are almost as good friends. Of course, their dialogues are really funny and full of sarcasm, which makes the movie funny too.
I liked the movie mostly because of Wan Deuk's growing recognition of his mother. It almost made me cry, because even though she was the woman who left years ago, she was still his mother. Wan Deuk said that he had not thought about his mother at all, but I am sure that if he had, then he had hoped that she is doing fine: "why to leave them behind and still live bad life?" this thought was in another drama, but I cannot remember in which. That's why it broke my heart when Wan Deuk saw his mom's situation and her old worn-out shoes.
Other great thing about the movie is that it shows "the other side" of South-Korea - students thinking
of dropping out as I bet we all know the thing about South-Korea and finals, disabled people, the poor class, foreign labor and intercultural marriage. I think that these things give the quality to the movie and make it different from others, which also can be the reason behind enormous ticket sale to this movie in 2011, winning many awards and screenings on international film festivals around the world. We see much more "the life of rich and beautiful" or "the middle class", so it is a nice change, but as some viewers have said - some scenes look just too artificial. In addition, I think that these are things that many countries face and that way there is a moment of realisation.
Of course there is added some love-lines, which give the movie the cute touch. Hong Jo's character
was added just because director Lee Han thought that "love" is the best way how to make viewers more empathize with Dong Jo's character, because it is like finding a love after years of single and lonely life. On the other hand, Wan Deuk's and Yoon Ha's love-line shows the young sweet love, which is a part of growing up - but I really liked how they brought in the differences between girls and boys.
I am not going to talk more about characters, even though each character is really interesting and original. As I mentioned at the start, it is all about one stage of human life and you can see it in each character's story. The reason why I did not put higher rating was because there actually were not many changes in the movie's pace or unexpected twists. It just started and went with one flow giving everything I thought I will get from it and nothing more. At least, it is not depressive and does not make you angry at society.

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