FEATURE FILM REVIEW
THE KOREAN FROM SEOUL
Nam-Hong arrives in Australia to begin a new job as head of security for a well established trading company.
YOU WANT IT? You got it, I'm going to spill the beans right here and right now. The Korean from Seoul has everything. Big companies enacting a low-brow war, music, fighting, booze, company defection, breakfast food, and even a weird computer-controlled spiny thing. The only thing missing is the kitchen sink, but I'm pretty sure that's in there somewhere as well. This bizarre collection of images and sound is intentional, so don't adjust your dial. Steven Whatmough and his crew control the images on your screen and the sounds entering your ears. The Korean from Seoul is weird. But so is the world of business, in this film that is.
WHAT EVENTUALLY COMES TO LIGHT IS A SMUGGLING OPERATION USING KNOLL'S TRAINS
It starts off innocently enough. A man gets hired as head of security for an export company. He seems grossly inappropriate for the job, and at first, company owner William Knoll ( Carew ) seems suspicious, but that quickly takes a backseat even though he is right! The new guy Nam-Hong ( Whatmough ) has a lot in common with William, and the suspicion soon vanishes. What comes to light is a smuggling operation using Knoll's trains.
Things come to a head during a bottle-throwing contest of sorts on that spiny thing I mentioned above and a beatdown with a red phone before a final big brawl. The stuff in between though is enough to the weirdest person you know cringe or laugh. Or both. Probably both. What struck me as weird and even a little cool was that many of the scenes almost feel like they are their own little mini film. It's all connected, of course, but also separate. Am I confusing you yet? I know that at times I was pretty confused myself until I resigned to just go with it.
I WOULD CALL THE KOREAN FROM SEOUL MORE OF AN ARTHOUSE MOVIE
As it says on the box, this is an experimental film, and it does the experimental thing well. But you can tell there's more going on than just a collection of unusual presentations. If anything, I would call The Korean from Seoul more of an arthouse movie than an experimental one. Also, quietly hidden in plain sight is a bit of a cautionary tale involving surveillance and even the power of big companies. These aspects are the backbone of the plot but are very veiled in the crazy way the film plays. I also got a grindhouse vibe from the stabbing hits of the background music. It fit soooo well.
A GREAT EXAMPLE OF HAVING SOME FUN WHILE MAKING A MOVIE
This is what happens when you let Koreans run amok (as they say in the film). You get a very cool film that doesn't allow itself to be told what it can and can't do all while slugging back a fifth of whiskey. I can't say that "you" will like this movie as much as I did. But as someone who has watched a lot of micro-budget movies, it's great to see something that feels silly and new. The Korean from Seoul is a great example of having some fun while making a movie, which itself is a pretty cool thing to do. I challenge anyone who watches this small piece of gold to a contest. Whenever someone onscreen drinks, do a shot. Let's see how long you last.
DROP A COMMENT, RATE THE MOVIE, OR SHARE?