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3.03.2007

GWOEMUL (THE HOST)

Gwoemul (The Host )
Directed by Bong Joon-Ho
Written by Baek Chul-hyun , Bong Joon-Ho and Ha Won-Jun








It's a given that you imprint the monster in monster movies- - - that corrosive interloper that usurps and upsets the status quo and rallies humankind to restore order to the universe - - -with whatever you want its intrusion and threat and carnage to stand in for. The slime-black Lovecraftian reptile here comes encoded with toxic dumping and not a little wary xenophobia for intrusive Americans. But when it abducts a young schoolgirl, and her bickering family of four - - - grizzly grandpa, buffoon dad , stoic archer aunt, hairtrigger drunk uncle - - - grudgingly coheres into a combat unit , it's the dysfunction of the family dynamic that takes over and heightens the drama of fatherly love and the lengths blood will go to to keep its own from harm. Not that it's a crawl, no. The Host is steeped in another monster movie given: set piece upon set piece of rampageporn - - - gruesome, gorgeous, emotionally resonant. * * * * *

11 comments:

Oggs Cruz said...

Oh, I love this too...

Haven't been watching much Korean films lately, but I'm really glad I gave this one a go.

Dodo said...

Hey oggs.

You've seen his earlier stuff, I presume? Memories of Murder and Barking Dogs Never Bite? Bong Jun Hoo's fast becoming one of my favorite Korean directors - - him and Hong San Soo.

Oggs Cruz said...

This is embarrassing, but no...

I have the DVDs but they're just gathering dust... I'll watch them soon. I hope.

Dodo said...

Oh go see, oggs. Start with Barking Dogs , his first. Memories is the better of the two (I think) but they're so divergent thematically and tonally so that assessment's very arguable.

Noel Vera said...

I didn't like Barking Dogs--or wasn't impressed--so I passed on Memories. I guess I have to see his stuff now.

Dave Kehr thinks the greatest Korean director at the moment is Park Chan Woo. Go figure.

Dodo said...

Park's got a lot of buzz Stateside . . . but he's hit and miss for me. Same with Kim Ki Duk. I still go watch as much of what these two put out,though.

Go see Memories, Noel. And this. Interesting stuff, at the very least.

Oggs Cruz said...

I'm digging Song Il-gon's stuff... Digital filmmaking without the usual quirks of the method; he's a genuine talent --- none of the flashy grease some of Korea's directors bathe in.

Dodo said...

Song Il Gon - - -yeah.

I should check out Flower Island soon. I have a DVD of that gathering dust somewhere in my room.

I saw Spider Forest based on the minor buzz Flower created around him. Interesting stuff.

Try Hong San Soo,oggs. Tale of Cinema,Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors and Woman is the Future of Man are the three I've seen. You want severe lack of flash - - - Hong's your go-to man.

Noel Vera said...

I need to see Hong Sang Soo's films again. Did not like them the first time.

Noel Vera said...

Jang Sun Woo's not bad. Very erotic, with a political subtex.

dodo dayao said...

Thanks for the heads up on Jang Sun Woo, Noel.

I quite liked Lies and I've been curious about his other stuff. Timeless, Bottomless, Bad Movie is a wonderful title.