Mary Poppins Returns
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
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All Critics (1)
| Fresh (1)
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Intense sci-fi crime thriller has cursing, violence.
Now that I think about it, it's weird to note that South Korea doesn't have many sci-fi flicks. That's not saying there aren't any, of course, The Host, Save the Green Planet, Snowpiercer, Doomsday Book and Okja (a Netflix original movie coming out later this month) all come to mind. I find it weird that a country with so many revenge thrillers (I've seen my fair share of them, fucking trust me) and rom-coms, that they've sort of shortchanged sci-fi. And, honestly, I wish they made more of it, because they films that do tackle this subject have always been intriguing to say the least. Having said all of that, I don't know if I can say that this is a full-on sci-film. It certainly has elements of a sci-fi flick, in that there's this device that allows you to go back into your dreams/memories called Lucid Dream (very 'creative' name). But the film isn't really centered about the device, it's more about the mystery regarding who kidnapped Dae-ho's son. The cops, in three years since his disappearance, have not been able to get anything that would lead them to the culprit or culprits responsible for the kidnapping. This is when Dae-ho discovers the idea of lucid dreaming and he approaches a scientist friend of his to let him use this to, maybe, find some sort of clues about those responsible. Realistically speaking, this device is really used as just that really. It's a plot device, it helps to move the story forward to where they want it to go. The problem with this is that the movie immediately starts off with a faulty concept. Dae-ho involves the cops in his investigation and they are aware that he's accessing his dreams/memories in order to see if he can find some evidence regarding that day. But, and this is common knowledge to anyone who has studied memory works, that is the fact that memories are easily manipulated. Studies have been performed where people have been convinced of having memories of events that never actually happened. To put it in more simpler fashion, late night talk show have done these things where they go out and interview people about this made up singer. A lot of people came up with responses saying that they loved this singer and they have all his/her albums. Though that's more wanting to appear knowledgeable than memory manipulation. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is the fact that lucid dreaming, in the way it is used in this film, can't be a truly effective method of gathering evidence because, again, memories can be manipulated. It's a little plot hole that they never once bothered to close up, but still. Having said that, the film doesn't rely on the sci-fi concept as much. This, without the lucid dreaming device, would be just another mystery/suspense film about a father trying to find his missing son. I will say that the device itself does give the film some small twists that make this a little more interesting to follow than it would be without it. While the movie certainly has a fairly predictable plot, in that you know who the person responsible is quickly, I still found myself enjoying the progression. Which is why I'd say that, in spite of its flaws, I enjoyed this. Yes, the device is just a way to push the story forward and its concept is used to serve a standard suspense film, but I still liked this movie. The story is simple, but effective. Dae-ho is a desperate man and you get to see that desperation in Go Soo's performance. He's a father who will do just about anything to get his son back. The character isn't super complex, but he's a man you can root for. I will also give them props for, thankfully, not using the concept to resort to cheap histrionics. There's a sentimental scene before the movie ends, but I feel that the story and its characters earned it. I will say that the most visually cool scene in the entire movie is when Dae-ho and the man responsible for the kidnapping, find themselves trapped in the memories/dreams of the man who was hired to pull it off through shared dreaming. This man has been in a coma for two years and his condition worsens as a result of a cardiac arrest. The doctors do everything they can, using a defibrillator on him. Inside the dream/memory, however, the use of the defib causes all the buildings around the characters to start collapsing. It's not as crazy as anything I saw in Doctor Strange, but it made for a pretty cool visual regardless. This is the only scene that makes full usage of the concept the film set up for itself. Every other time it's used, it's used to get some clues and nothing more. The acting is solid and the characters, even the real villain, all have their motivations. Again, there's nothing in the way of true complexity, it's just fathers doing what they must for their children, but I find that it still works. I don't think there's anything truly special about this movie, even with the concept, but I still would say that this was a pretty good movie. I would not say that you should go out of your way to watch this, but I think it's a movie that a lot of people would end up enjoying. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm completely off base here, who knows? Still, I thought this was fairly good and that's all that matters in the long run.
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