Now I know that many of you who have already seen this will be questioning my sanity, but this is an awesome movie. I must say that it is extremely entertaining and full of unique characters played by a talented group of actors/actresses. Some criticize the film for being hard to follow and lacking any coherent storyline. While at first glance this may be true, the fact of the matter is that the movie is layered with witty satire and clever dialogue. Sure, some characters (re: all) may have almost no lines whatsoever, but the ones they do have are all classic.
The film is also visually stunning with its extraordinary special effects and set pieces. Their society is complete with neon lit dance clubs and industrial looking facilities yet at the same time resembles ancient rome or egypt. The duality between this primitive and advanced society is brilliantly played out as soldiers fight with swords yet they contain the knowledge to produce high powered explosives. There are hidden social commentaries as main character comes from a lower class background yet is in love with the daughter of the Great General. Never before has such a forbidden love tale been expressed so beautifully. Somehow this film manages to merge all these subtle messages together while apparently completely eluding many viewers. This is part of the reason why this movie is so great.
The acting is top notch as all the characters play their parts quite well. Oftentimes the characters never speak to each other, yet their emotions come through something as simple as eye contact. The plot is a little hard to follow and perhaps a little hard to believe, but that is merely looking at it with the wrong perspective. In actuality, this movie subtlety touches upon such subjects as love, betrayal, and perseverance while throwing in some stylish action scenes here and there.
The music is simply fantastic as well. The beautiful scores and piano accompaniment would move any takashi miike fan to tears. The music is appropriately spread from scene to scene which helps to infuse the film with its melancholic and inspirational feel. There are also bits of techno and rock which work very well with the various settings in the movie.
While this movie hasn't won any awards, it certainly should. I would dare to say that it is the best korean film I have ever watched (much better then other korean classics like Friend, JSA, Yupgi Girl, Shiri, etc.) and on par with some of the finest movies of this generation. It is extremely entertaining, especially with a big party, and will probably last a long time in your memory. And that is what makes this a great movie.
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