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Flandersui Gae (Barking Dogs Never Bite) (Flanders' Dog) Reviews

Page 1 of 5
axadntpron
axadntpron

Super Reviewer

April 21, 2011
A wickedly smart and hilarious black comedy/social satire from the master of South Korean cinema himself, Bong Joon-Ho. It is a film about a struggling graduate student (Sung-Jae Lee) caught up the seemingly endless rat race of everyday life. The Seoul of Joon-Ho's mind is filled with a burnt out population who feel that they can only achieve greatness through unscrupulous avenues or in the unlikely event that they will end up on television. When Lee seems to be on the precipice of madness due to constant societal demands, his rage is projected onto a neighbors dog. What ensues next is an opaque but comical attempt to dispatch the poor animal.
What sets Joon-Ho apart from his cohorts in Korean Cinema, namely Park Chan-Wook, is that he isn't there to solely shock the viewer. Sure the material makes for some surprising moments, but Joon-Ho brings up some important questions. Why do people pamper animals when they themselves must toil endlessly just to achieve sustenance? Why do people long to nourish animals when they are not nourished by their own caretakers?
It is an interesting and thought provoking film that is wrapped in a delightful black comedy and is definative proof that South Korean directors are some of the most premiere filmmakers of this generation.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

February 7, 2009
Bong Joon-ho's first film and it's easy to see how he became an interest to the Korean mainstream. His sense of humour is even darker here than it is in Memories of Murder or The Host. It certainly wont be for everyone, especially if you be loving little doggies. It's quite bizarre how we feel sympathy for Yun-Ju. He may do some pretty sick things but he is life's doormat. The film goes further than most films would even dare. Their are not comeuppances as such, but the characters do learn valuable lessons. A niche market film, but one where you should be able to appreciate the director's talent and what he has gone on to achieve since.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

December 3, 2010
In "Barking Dogs Never Bite," Yun-Ju(Lee Sung-Jae) is like a lot of other people with advanced degrees in that he is out of work, currently held prisoner to the hormones of his pregnant wife(Kim Ho-Jung). It is only fair since she actually has a job and brings home the bacon whereas he has to go and get the walnuts. Otherwise, things may be looking up on the employment front as a professor was killed by a subway train, creating an opening. So, all Yun-Ju needs is a $10,000 bribe. In the meantime, he gets obsessed with a barking dog, stealing it and hiding it away. The dog's owner, a young girl, misses her little dog so much that she prints flyers which Hyeon-Nam(Bae Du-Na) stamps in her official capacity. In her unofficial capacity, she posts the flyers for the girl. And then Yun-Ju realizes he might have gotten the wrong dog...

"Barking Dogs Never Bite" is a delightful and funny dark comedy that shows Bong Joon-Ho with his debut feature already has a command of the medium with his shot compositions and deceptively complex plotting. What the movie especially reminds me of is Jimmy Breslin's entertaining columns about his hatred of dogs, especially those in cities where they have a tiny amount of room and are locked up all day. Humans, like dogs, need their space to roam which is not easily found in such confined surroundings that may not also be conducive to good mental health. This thought is expressed well throughout the film, especially in the last two scenes. If animal cruelty turns you off, then this may not be your film but it is really not that gruesome. And it handles its criticism of cities much sweeter than that of "Seven" which said that if you live in a city, you will be miserable all of the time, it will be constantly raining(even if you live in Phoenix) and then Kevin Spacey will move in next door.

Note: No animals were harmed in the writing of this review. I wrote it after lunch which is a whole different matter...

(Originally reviewed in the blog section 3/3/2010.)
lesleyanorton
lesleyanorton

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2010
A strange little film, about a bunch of people living in a block of flats and some mysteriously vanishing mostly barky dogs. Not at all what I expected from the director of THE HOST and MEMORES OF MURDER., this one felt like a Mike Leigh film, if Mike Leigh happened to be Korean. I don't know if tha'ts a good thing or not.
Wu C

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2010
Joon-ho Bong first film is definitely worth seeking out. Hard to watch at times, but too darkly funny to turn away. A great little film by one of my favorite Korean directors.
Anthony V

Super Reviewer

April 8, 2008
A Funny and clever dark comedy, about a man who plans to kill his neighbor's noisy, yapping dog and the girl who attempts to foil him.
August 16, 2013
I hate animal violence in movies. Joon-ho Bong knows this; it's just one of those things people agree is flat-out not cool. Staying true to its title, "Barking Dogs Never Bite" is a total play on this: hinting at or implying dog death but only rarely delivering on showing it to us. It's a neat trick Bong squeezes laughs out of like hell. Because it is indeed a comedy, commenting on and exploring the weird lives and hobbies of lower-class characters in and around a South Korean apartment complex in the same darkly quirky vein of Akira Kurosawa's "Dodes'ka-den". While not as finely polished as his masterpiece "Mother" or the masterful monster movie "The Host", "Barking Dogs" may leave you baffled, but Bong knows how to get you off. Using subtle camera tricks and trippy, dreamy flashbacks with deeper meaning to them than you might think, it's nothing short of a treat, with Bong expertly and narrowly matching the sour with the sweet.
October 25, 2011
Well I never thought I would see a movie about animal cruelty and be so amused. Barking Dogs Don't Bite started off very slowly. But after a couple of minutes it picked up showing Yun-ju (Sun-jae Le) to be a failure who is constantly bothered by a yapping dog in his apartment building. So he decides to do something about it. The movie has a dark sense of humor. Rest assured that the dogs are never harmed in real life, but some of the scenes are cruel.
The movie it's self get's funnier as it moves along. Hyeon-nam (Doona Bae) is hilarious as our heroine, though her friend is a bit rough. Joon-ho Bong was very good and Hitchcockian at times. Lighting was used well to intensify certain scenes and set the mood of the characters. The music helped to add atmosphere to our characters as well.
The one character I found enduring was the janitor (Hie-bong Byeon) who was comical and yet creepy at times. The story is well written and full of twists and turns. I'd recommend this film for those who appreciate a good "black comedy" or dog haters...just kidding. Still it's a good film that should be rented at least once, maybe even twice.
March 3, 2014
Joon-ho Bong's first film might be his best. Decidedly absurd and surreal in its delivery, Bong somehow finds a way to make the most contemptible characters funny and relatable. The pacing is slow but deliberate, mirroring the ultimate monotony of life for everyone, even psychopathic dog serial killers.
January 7, 2014
Dostoyevsky, meet your idiot
May 5, 2013
Flandersui Gae (A Dog of Flanders/Barking Dogs Never Bite) (Joon-ho Bong, 2000)

Joon-ho Bong has developed into one of Korea's most popular directors both at home and overseas, first with The Host, the highest-grossing Korean film of all time (viz. review 10Mar2008 ish), and then with Mother, one of the most critically-acclaimed Korean films of all time (viz. review 30Mar2011 ish). But he had a career, and a durned good one, long before coming up with either of those flicks; his second movie, Memories of Murder, is actually my favorite of his flicks (viz. review 1Apr2008 ish), and while it didn't really gain notoriety outside Korea until after he'd gotten big for his other movies, his debut feature, Flandersui Gae (known in English-speaking countries both as A Dog of Flanders and Barking Dogs Never Bite), was a pretty big hit back in the day. If you know Bong's later work, there's not going to be a good deal here that will surprise you-it's got that patented Bong mix of madcap mystery, uncomfortable humor, broad-spectrum ineptitude on the part of his endearing characters, and a sharp, witty script that brings it all together in a pleasurable way.

Plot: Yun-ju (Attack the Gas Station!'s Sun-jae Lee) is a college lecturer who's trying to achieve a professorship in a corrupt culture-it seems to be standard operating procedure for lecturers at his school who want to become professors to "gift" the dean with ten thousand bucks. Problem is, lecturers make peanuts, so where's he going to get that kind of money? As if that's not enough, somewhere in his large, faceless apartment block there's a yappy little dog who refuses to shut up. Yun-ju finds himself driven to extremes-once he has identified the beast, he kidnaps it. When he finds he can't bring himself to kill it, he locks it in a cabinet in the basement. When the missing-dog posters start going up, posted by both the dog's young owner and Hyeon-nam (Spring Bears Love's Doona Bae), an interested bookkeeper from the local tax office who had to give the posters an official stamp to make sure the cops didn't take them down, Yun-ju realizes he's got himself a case of mistaken identity-but when he goes to set the pooch free, it's gone...

And this kicks off a series of misadventures that has the movie careering wildly between missing-dog mystery (animal lovers beware, there are a few scenes you may find uncomfortable despite the large, prominently-displayed title card at the beginning stating that no animals were harmed during the making of the film), romantic comedy, and Richard Linklater-style slacker drama, with the odd action sequence here and there just to keep the viewer on his or her toes. Like Memories of Murder, the end result seems somewhat directionless, and that does seem a bit more of a problem here than it is in Memories of Murder. But not much more; this movie is still a great deal of fun, as well as being quite technically accomplished for it being the director's feature debut. If you're a Joon-ho Bong fan who's never gotten the chance to check this one out, it may not quite measure up to Bong's later efforts, but it's still a pretty good time. ***
January 17, 2013
Ugh very hard to watch at the start. I had too much sympathy for the dogs. Other than that the movie was entertaining filled with dark humor and irony. There isn't much of an ending though.
August 3, 2012
I don't know if I can watch this. In the first five minutes of the film the guy has already tried to strangle the dog and throw it off of a building.. :(
June 8, 2012
This was disappointing. I'm a big fan of Joon-ho Bong's other films, but his directorial debut is pretty lackluster. There isn't much of a driving narrative to anything here, and it's not really spelled out what it is that some of these characters want. There's definitely gleams of hope here and there, especially with the mix of black humor and satire.

Thank goodness he delivered on those high points and gave us the magnificent 'Memories of Murder', 'The Host' and 'Mother' in the following years. I'll chalk this one up to a learning experience. Watch if you're really invested in getting a full picture of the development of one of Korea's most talented directors. Otherwise, avoid.
January 24, 2012
I liked it up to a point until it started to drag on pointlessly.
February 20, 2011
Though it has some amateurish aspects to it, and is nowhere near on the level of what Joon-ho Bong made subsequently, it's a rather original, interesting debut that gives you a glimpse of things to come.
Rodstar
April 26, 2011
This quirky little gem was Bong Joon-Ho's debut (Memories of Murder, The Host, Mother) in which he shows his flair for mixing pitch black humour, with thrills, drama and horror to create a unique flavour that has been refined in his later films. Dog lovers be wary.
Trevor C.
April 21, 2011
A very humorous debut film from Bong Joon-ho (or Joon-ho Bong, I'm always confused by which order Korean names go in). While it isn't a masterpiece, it is a fantastic first piece with a simple, yet intriguing storyline that was well thought out. It's got this sort of light suspense to it, and a few thrills as well, and plenty of humor and drama that makes just about all the characters (to some extent) lovable. One thing that surprised me is that even in his debut film the cinematography used is fantastic, and though it is an independent film (I'm pretty sure it is, anyway) the production value here seems better than it does in most contemporary films. It's a light story, with, again, some suspense and thrills that I think most will enjoy (if you're a Bong Joon-ho fan, definitely see it).
March 23, 2011
Joon-ho Bong's debut movie (Mother, The Host). As a friend of all dogs, this one was a little difficult to watch. Still a pretty great movie. Supposedly none were actually chucked off the roof or eaten during the filming. So that's good...
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

December 3, 2010
In "Barking Dogs Never Bite," Yun-Ju(Lee Sung-Jae) is like a lot of other people with advanced degrees in that he is out of work, currently held prisoner to the hormones of his pregnant wife(Kim Ho-Jung). It is only fair since she actually has a job and brings home the bacon whereas he has to go and get the walnuts. Otherwise, things may be looking up on the employment front as a professor was killed by a subway train, creating an opening. So, all Yun-Ju needs is a $10,000 bribe. In the meantime, he gets obsessed with a barking dog, stealing it and hiding it away. The dog's owner, a young girl, misses her little dog so much that she prints flyers which Hyeon-Nam(Bae Du-Na) stamps in her official capacity. In her unofficial capacity, she posts the flyers for the girl. And then Yun-Ju realizes he might have gotten the wrong dog...

"Barking Dogs Never Bite" is a delightful and funny dark comedy that shows Bong Joon-Ho with his debut feature already has a command of the medium with his shot compositions and deceptively complex plotting. What the movie especially reminds me of is Jimmy Breslin's entertaining columns about his hatred of dogs, especially those in cities where they have a tiny amount of room and are locked up all day. Humans, like dogs, need their space to roam which is not easily found in such confined surroundings that may not also be conducive to good mental health. This thought is expressed well throughout the film, especially in the last two scenes. If animal cruelty turns you off, then this may not be your film but it is really not that gruesome. And it handles its criticism of cities much sweeter than that of "Seven" which said that if you live in a city, you will be miserable all of the time, it will be constantly raining(even if you live in Phoenix) and then Kevin Spacey will move in next door.

Note: No animals were harmed in the writing of this review. I wrote it after lunch which is a whole different matter...

(Originally reviewed in the blog section 3/3/2010.)
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