Namgeuk-ilgi (Antarctic Journal) (2005)
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Critic Reviews for Namgeuk-ilgi (Antarctic Journal)
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Audience Reviews for Namgeuk-ilgi (Antarctic Journal)
This movie, visually, is one of the most impressive Korean movies I've seen. The movie also does a fabulous job at getting across the absolute exhaustion of the team and how that exhaustion drives them to insanity, in some cases. I also very much liked the fact that the movie was mostly psychological instead of gory. Yet with all of these virtues, and a strong performance from Kang Song-Ho, I would say this movie is average at best. In keeping with the atmosphere, the movie moves along at a glacial pace...with instances where nothing really happens. It's probably 20 minutes too long and really, the movie is a chore to sit through, even if there are elements of the movie I really liked. The story is virtually non-existent except for the crew losing their minds for whichever reason, never explained and this subplot with the captain and what happened with his family isn't well developed. I think that's ultimately what was the biggest letdown of the movie, it just isn't interesting to watch. It's great that check director went on to realize his full potential with Hansel and Gretel, as that was an incredible movie. But I'm disappointed with this movie because it really could've been much better than it was. It still has its strong suits, but they're not enough at all.
I'd seen Yim's most recent film, Hansel and Gretel, and was completely blown away by it. Antarctic Journal is the polar opposite of that film in many respects. Hansel and Gretel filled every shot with a vast palette of colors and fantastic detail. Antarctic Journal, though beautiful looking, is pretty much empty and just white. Hansel and Gretel played on the warm cozy setting and here the film uses the open and ferocious landscape to do the same kind of work. It's a creepy well-acted chiller that never quite terrifies. The psychology of the characters is well developed but due to the slow nature of the film, it never grabs the attention. The film feels mostly like constant build up. The few final scenes are very haunting, especially the cold and bleak final shot of Song walking into the distance.
i really like Kang-ho Song and was hoping to really enjoy this film (I have a soft spot for films that take place in the snow as well), but despite great performances, this one left me cold. Not a terrible movie, but unfortunately nothing really happens and when it does, I found it hard to care. And the payoff was a letdown too.
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