Enemy at the Dead End (2010)
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Critic Reviews for Enemy at the Dead End
Audience Reviews for Enemy at the Dead End
I've always said that South Korean is the land of a million, previously a thousand, revenge movies. To say that a lot of them have the save the same sort of structure and tone is an understatement. And this is coming from someone whose favorite movie of all time is Oldboy, a movie that plays into the same tone that is attributed to South Korean revenge films. I'm not saying that there isn't creativity or originality in these films, far from it, the truly great South Korean revenge films contain these elements in spade. But there's also no denying that that there's a certain sameness to some of the more substandard entries in this genre. Which is where this film comes in, which isn't your regular revenge thriller, because it offers something that's actually fairly different from the norm. But it also manages to provide some entertainment. The film's description, that I will take straight from Amazon.com, reads as follows: "A post-traumatic stress disorder patient bound to his bed, finds himself sharing his room with a paralyzed amnesia patient. And he must kill him off before he is recognized." The cool thing about this movie is that it is literally the slowest revenge thriller ever made and I do mean that literally, given the condition of both men and the fact that neither of them remember what the one actually did that made them want to kill each other. Well I mean they do remember what happened, but it's just that it's never clear which one of them is actually telling the truth about what they're accusing each other of doing. The film is also darkly comedic as you get to see how these two, there's no better way to put it, invalids try to hurry through their physical therapy in order to see who'll be able to kill the other first. I also like the idea of the person that you hate to the point of murder being so close to you without actually being able to do anything about it due to your condition. I just like that concept a lot and the movie really plays with it in some really clever ways, at least I thought. The climactic fight, if you can even call it that, is, again, really cleverly done and played out exactly the same way you would expect a fight between two fairly disabled people. It's a change from the norm in that you usually see these badass fights as the climax and this one is anything but. But, again, it works given the story and characters the film presented. The acting, of course, is really damn strong. I'm far more familiar Yoo Hae-jin, and he's always excelled at supporting roles but he's really damn good here. I've seen Cheon Ho-jin a lot as well, but not as much as Yoo, but he's also damn good here. There is a twist in the film and I honestly have, somewhat, mixed thoughts on it. Part of me liked it, but part of me felt like it was sort of a cheap way out of the story. It's not that it doesn't even make sense, because it actually does given the elements that are presented during certain sequences of the film, so that's not even my complaint. My complaint is the fact that it's just not satisfying, to me. I'm glad that the truth was revealed, but this is one of the few movies where I wouldn't have minded if we didn't get the revelation. Both guys are unreliable sources, due to their memories being the way they were, so I thought it would've been cool if they left something for the audience to debate on. I think it would've been cool, because I think that a lot of people would've come to the same conclusion that the film revealed. I understand why the film played out the way it did though, I just wish they would've left more to the imagination. But it is what it is and it can't be changed. With that said, I still really enjoyed this movie quite a bit. It's not perfect, but it offers enough of a change from what we typically see from South Korean thrillers while also finding a way to make its leads' handicaps into a positive with a cleverly told story. I'd definitely recommend if you have Amazon Prime. Real good movie here.
I couldn't stop thinking this would have been a 5 star film IF Chan-wook Park had been the director and Min-sik Choi played the role of Min-ho!
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