12 July 2005 | Gigo_Satana
A stranger in need is special indeed.
As much as I love Korean cinema, I tend to get bit selective when it comes to melodramatic romance films, mainly because I rarely find myself in the mood for some extreme tear dropping. But once in a while I get an itch to watch a good K romance drama without the flashy action or over the top comedy and when I heard that this film was directed by Jin Jang I was more so interested since I enjoyed both Guns & Talks and Ditto and also knew or hoped that it wouldn't be a typical genre piece.
First thing I noticed from the start of the film was that just as sentimentality was about to overtake the screen, Jang would quickly sneak in humorous imagination sequences or have his characters simply swallow their words to lighten up the mood, instead of delivering long compelling lines. At the moment I took that as his trick to slowly digress into full fledged gloominess, but to my relief that wasn't meant to be.
I think the casting of these actors was done perfectly as both Jae-yeong Jeong, who shows his strength as a veteran actor and Na-yeong Lee, equally shone through with their natural and effortless delivery. Since Jae-yeong's character is facing an illness, his somewhat average looks helped him to convey his inner sadness better than most actors ever do in these type of situations. Na-yeong keeps herself confined although her character has a lot on her mind and heart, which essentially enriches the moments when she shyly smiles or tries to comfort Jae-yeong, all at the same time without becoming over bearing or needy.
Still, I had my reservations about how the ending would take its final shape with this hocus-pocus of a sensitive story, but in the end I couldn't have asked for a better way of providing a closure. Jin Jang was able to smartly craft the oldest tale in the history of cinematic romances with a refreshing twist. This film might be even more enjoyable with the second viewing, especially if the first time around you didn't get the hint on what Jang was aiming for. My only complaint is about the music, which I felt was a bit too typical for a film that was heading toward the abstract, but perhaps it was added intentionally to surprise the audience even further.
I wish more romantic comedies were like this, completely drag free and without the sappy fluff, but I guess good things come in small doses and that's just another reason why I'd recommend this film so enthusiastically.