South Korean documentary-narrative hybrid centers on an aging couple and their ox.
Even at a modest 78 minutes, there's a little too much slowness and repetitiveness to this off-beat documentary. But then, how fast can you expect a 40-year-old ox to move?
Old Partner may strike some as sentimental and repetitious, but it's only because Lee has matched his style to the material.
| Original Score: 3/4
An unexpectedly absorbing look at determination in a vanishing way of life.
| Original Score: 3/5
Too bad there isn't an Oscar for best performance by a beast of burden.
Old Partner isn't entirely the story of man and ox shuffling off into the sunset together. It's also the story of poverty, sacrifice, physical agony, and very real emotional tumult.
| Original Score: B+
Poignant, well-shot and haunting, albeit somewhat repetitive at times.
| Original Score: 6.95/10
One does leave with a rarely vivid sense of the grind of time, in work and marriage.
An outstanding documentary about a kind of farming that is disappearing everywhere, leaving in its wake in this particular instance the bonds between an elderly man and his prized ox, the "old partner" of the title.
At its best, the film adopts its subjects' spartan demeanor, relying on wordless sequences that vividly depict the rhythms of farm labor...
The film's unrelenting presentation of raw misery not only shortchanges the fullness of the subjects' experience, but with its hovering, pitch-perfect camera-eye, feels dangerously like an invasion.
| Original Score: 2/4