Shi gan (Time) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 27, 2011
Very strange, but good fact, I'm sure someone in Hollywood is planning to "re-do" this flick as we speak (since ripping off foreign cinema is now the hottest Hollywood trend). You will never want to own a cafe where lovers meet after this film. It seems the best place for hysterical scenes. Anyway, we see what twisted, or just obsessive, love can do to a relationship. There is a bit of irony, when the new Seh-hee becomes jealous of the new love in her boyfriend's life. OH WAIT! It's her, no wait, is she jealous of herself?
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2011
I've lived in South Korea for over 2 years now, and this film holds a lot more weight to it. The South Korean obsession with plastic surgery is unsettling and bizarre. Kim Ki-Duk uses his unique symbolism and poetic visuals to show a world of absurdity and negligence. The film is about love, obsession and insecurity. The opening scenes show a woman so unreasonable and psychologically dangerous, that she will infuriate most watching. She believes her boyfriend will become bored of her, and so changes her face. Suddenly she vanishes. A number of women crop up and could be her. It's a strange romantic mystery, and one that cannot be taken literally. Kim Ki-Duk isn't trying to confuse his audience, he is encouraging them to think. This film had more dialogue than I'm used to from him, but it serves the story well. As Ji-Woo attempts to find his love, who may be one of the women around him. Kim Ki-Duk does a fascinating job of exploring how much appearance affects our relationships.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2010
This wonderful film is one of Kim Ki-Duk's most powerful and saddest works on how time affects our lives and relationships, it is an aching story about love trying to survive amid obsessions, insecurities and our incapacity to cope with our own pettiness in face of the unstoppable action of time.
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2008
Slightly confusing. Don't think I would want to watch it again, but interesting idea about plastic surgery and it's implications on unhappy people.
Super Reviewer
½ February 8, 2009
I know Shi gan deals with insecurity & lack of identity &... but I think the main point is accepting the passage of time & the fact that nothing lasts forever, The best I've seen by Kim Ki-duk along with 3-Iron
Super Reviewer
August 16, 2008
Ki-duk Kim creates a movie that revolves around the issue of plastic surgery, which at this time, is a growing situation in Korea. Yes, one of the messages that comes from this film is that "plastic surgery is bad," but there is more to it than this.The film is know as a drama romance. Don't be fooled, because this doesn't necessarily feel like a romance. If you look at it in Hollywood terms that is. It is still a slow movie that deals with relationships though. Plastic surgery plays a big part in this film, but this isn't a gory movie by any means. The beginning offers footage of a surgery, which may make you lose your lunch, but that is pretty much it. The story itself is not really complex, but it is deep. You will need to pay attention to get the most out of this.Knowing the fact that this is about plastic surgery gives away the ending of the film, but that doesn't make the movie any less watchable. You are curious to see how the main character Ji-Woo will react when he discovers what has taken place. Remember, this is not a typical Hollywood romance movie. While there is nothing really special about the first hour, besides the camerawork, the last 30 minutes picks up and becomes quite entertaining. The movie sort of flips the story on the two main characters, which ends up giving you an ending that will have you thinking. I'll just leave it at that.The acting is quite good, although a little bland at times, but that is nothing new to Asian dramas. The star of the movie is Seong Hyeon-a, who plays See-Hee after the surgery.For a drama, which I am not a huge fan of, the story is good enough to keep even me into it. If you can get through the first half of the film you will be in for a treat.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2008
Beauty and brutality? Queue up another Kim Ki-Duk film! When you consider how naturally the juxtaposition comes with a subject like plastic surgery, it's a surprise that he didn't go after it earlier. Anyway, the man is a master-class visual director and comes up with some truly incredible tales. They fall just out of the realm of human plausibility, acting more as parables, and that's what makes his films so unique.

There were parts of 3-Iron that irked me because they seemed completely out of the grasp of human reason - I didn't really understand why the characters were acting like they did. That was dumb viewing on my part...of course the characters are going to act unusual. They're inexplicably mute. In all of his films, Ki-Duk hangs reality to make a point or strengthen a theme. Even his comparatively austere Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring exhibits this. Bold choices like these can damage or enhance a film; the choices that he makes in Time are almost always for the stronger. The constant abuse of plastic surgery by the two main characters is a heartbreaking metaphor for relationships. Even though they have failed, time and again, to make their love work, they keep remodeling themselves in order to give it another try. Never mind the fact that it's the same person behind the new face - it's all they seem to know.

Whether you choose to view this as a relationship metaphor or a plastic surgery polemic - or both - is totally up to you. One of the strong points of Time is that it makes a very compelling point about a real-life practice without seeming preachy or distracting. Plastic surgery has become huge in Korea, to the point where it has positively effected their economy. Girls as young as 14 are getting eyelid lifts. The film doesn't trouble you with any of this though, instead making a strong insinuation through graphic montages that the practice is commonplace and completely brutal.

Time has some third-act problems, throwing in too many emotional climaxes and not really knowing where to end. There are at least three points in the last twenty minutes where the movie could have stopped and been just as strong, if not stronger, for it. Ki-Duk's films are generally littered with spots of empty air; this is actually one of his tighter efforts, at least compared to the suffocating Spring. Still, I feel like there were times when the movie just wasn't saying much. All is forgiven, though, when you consider how loud the rest of the film is.
Super Reviewer
½ April 23, 2010
Suspenseful film about the insecurities of love, or the destructiveness of insecurities or the obsessiveness of lovers. A woman fears her boyfriend will get tired of her, so she changes her appearance with plastic surgery - but it doesn't work out as she hopes, or quite as you'd expect either. If it puts a few people off going under the knife then its done a good job.
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2009
interesting but flawed movie. If you suspend belief and view it more as a metaphor it seems to work better. Regardless, its poetic in nature but tends to drag toward the end. It does contain the creepiest scene I ever viewed in a movie will know it when you see it!
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2007
A truel bizzar and wonderfully twisted cautionary tale about plastic surgery.
Super Reviewer
½ November 14, 2007
Like most Ki-duk Kim films, this one is pretty weird. Some good performances and an interesting concept. My favs by him so far are 'The Isle' and '3 Iron'.
½ May 30, 2014
Too melodramatic and crazy for me. The woman is just plain crazy (so is the guy if he's attracted to that, and doesn't want to leave after any of her moments of crazy). The movie feels like an indictment of South Korean culture and how they apparently over embrace plastic surgery. The movie was interesting, though.
November 17, 2012
Really thought-provoking. How far should one go for love? Kim Ki-Duk directs this awesome quirky, stylish love-thriller. Please find a way to watch it.
March 30, 2009
Captivating in presentation and allegorical in scope. This is the type of movie that will make you think.
January 15, 2009
Kim Ki-duk isn't interested in telling a straight forward story. He repeats scenes (more than once) though the last time normal space-time is fractured. Time (the movie) is more of a metaphor than anything else. A metaphor for what I have yet to decide.

At first I was wondering why the movie wasn't titled Face (since one of the main characters early on decides to have her face changed through plastic surgery); however, it becomes clear that this movie is not interested so much in appearance as it first seems. It is firstly a movie about time.

When we first meet the couple the movie revolves around, Seh-hee (the girlfriend) is suspicious of her boyfriend's commitment to faithfulness. She wonders if he is growing tired of her because they've been together too long. She ultimately decides to try and take their relationship back to the beginning. She wants it to be new in the hope that the newness will hold the relationship together. What she neglects (however trite it sounds) is the invaluability of time spent together. The characters spend much of the movie apart, and the viewer knows that a sad prophecy of loneliness is unfolding.

While the movie can function as a cautionary tale, it isn't really that engaging. Seh-hee is obsessive, insecure, selfish (since she's more interested in being loved than loving), and completely jealous. Ji-woo seems to be inattentive, and unresponsive to her concerns. Clearly there's a backstory of dysfunction that we never see. Throughout the movie, Seh-hee spends so much of the time not listening (and not believing) her boyfriend as well as throwing tantrums that I couldn't sympathize with her. When you can't sympathize with the main character of a story in nearly any way, the story has a problem. I'm not saying a character has to likable to be sympathetic, but I am saying that for tragedy to work correctly (and this is clearly a tragedy) there has to be enough in a character that we wish to see redeemed so that when the character is damned, we feel the appropriate emotional response of catharsis. I didn't feel it after watching Time.

Twice during the movie a character tells Ji-woo that Seh-hee must really love him. Neither character really seems to believe that's true. It's more of a nicety than anything else. We don't believe she loves him either, and that's the problem with this film: she doesn't love him, she just wants to be loved by him. Time can't heal that wound.
February 18, 2008
I still stand behind Kim Ki Duk as a good filmmaker, but this is another miss for me. It seemed to be a long and boring story that wasn't really going anywhere interesting since none of the characters had any redeeming qualities and it followed such an obvious path - until the end. But while dynamic endings tacked on to a slow burn of a movie can be effective, it doesn't always work. I love having my mind blown, but I have to actually give a shit about the characters at least a little bit. I'll probably give this one another shot at some point.
October 21, 2007
Interesting concept. Not as psychologically introspective as I would've expected given the identity changes.
April 21, 2007
Surreal, punishing, and yet somehow poetic in it's horror. I have no idea what this movie's driving for, except give you a icky feeling that sticks with you for a couple weeks.
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2007
i was looking forward to watching this movie for several months [thanks to sssabee's kim ki duk radar] and it surpassed all expectations and then some. the traditional korean cinematic themes of sadism/masochism are there but KKD's presentation is satisfyingly unique with his trademark twisted vision. he's just getting better and better... amazing.
June 27, 2013
About Histrionic Personality Disorder
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