The Big Bang (Ssonda) (2007)
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Critic Reviews for The Big Bang (Ssonda)
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Audience Reviews for The Big Bang (Ssonda)
I'm sure you've all had shitty days in your life. In fact, I'm 100% certain you've all had shitty days. Days where nothing, quite literally, goes your way. It's just a part of life and we've all had to deal with them and, I'm sure, that sooner or later, we'll have to deal with them again. I think a lot of us manage to get through them simply because we have to and, also, because we also have other outlets that we can use to express our anger. However, how does someone who's always been told to follow the rules, the law and his superiors react to a shitty day. A shitty day where his wife left him, he got fired and his co-workers, going to dinner afterwards to celebrate his contributions to the company, ask him to pay the bill, so they'll remember him favorably. How does a man as rigid and strict about following the rules react to this when he finally blows up? That's the film's concept and, while it's not unique, I do still like the idea of a good man being pushed so far to the edge that his only response is to cause as much mayhem as is humanly possible before he is, ultimately, thrown in jail. The film starts out simply enough with Man-soo, our protagonist, losing his cool on his asshole former co-workers for actually asking him to pay the tab on the day when he got fired. He flipped the table, went out and started kicking shit and then he pissed on the wall that was next to a police station, which promptly got him arrested. Which is where Man-soo meets Chul-gon, a petty criminal who makes it a point of going to jail for only six months at a time, whom he then takes on his crime spree throughout the city. Simple enough, right? Right. Ok, so before I keep going with this review, however, I have to ask myself how is it that this movie has enough ratings on Letterboxd that it actually has an average score. And how is it that that average score is 3.4. Did we watch the same movie??? Hell, there's 60 FOUR star ratings for this movie on Letterboxd and, I'm sorry, but I just don't see a great movie here. I see movie with a lot of potential, sure, but I don't see a great movie. And by potential I mean potential for comedy. First hour and so of the movie is perfectly fine, if not enjoyable, because it has Chul-gon trying to control Man-soo's rampage. Every time Man-soo commits a crime, Chul-gon is right there telling him how much time he'd get for what he did depending on the severity of the damage, injury, etc. And I thought that was pretty funny. But then, slightly more than an hour into the film, Chul-gon's sick mother, who's in the hospital, is introduced into the proceedings. And I was like 'oh here we fucking go'. I wouldn't have had such a problem with this if it wasn't for the fact that it comes out of nowhere. Chul-gon's mother is never, ONCE, mentioned at all prior to this. This is why the crimes that Chul-gon commits only see him get thrown in jail for six months at a time, he steals and robs so he can pay for his mother's hospital stay in advance. You know they only introduced the mother to kill her off, so she's really nothing more than a plot device, which is just the fucking worst. If that's all she's gonna be, at least introduce her earlier on in the movie so she doesn't feel like anything more than to drive Chul-gon's revenge against the man who forced his family into poverty. An assemblyman betrayed Chul-gon's father and framed him for a crime he did not commit. This assemblyman also stole Chul-gon's father's fortune, leaving him and her mother destitute. It all feels so needless, honestly. Again, these elements are just there to get Chul-gon's blood boiling to the point that he becomes a more active participant in the rampage that Man-soo started. I mean, you could have just made Chul-gon an active participant from the start, just say that he's a fucking madman and that was that. No reason to introduce such serious elements in a film that, really, doesn't need them. And it's not that I was against the serious elements in the film. Because, at the very least, Man-soo's personality is explained as a result of his father's strict upbringing, where he refused to allow his son to live his dreams. Man-soo's father wanted him to be a government worker and, goddamnit, that's what Man-soo was gonna be, his own happiness be damned. But that relationship with his father was intrinsic to who Man-soo was. This wasn't introduced more than halfway through the film, this is one of the first things about Man-soo that you get to know. So, at the very least, his relationship with his father wasn't haphazardly thrown in more than halfway through the film to justify unneeded dramatic elements. The attempts they make with Chul-gon felt completely unnecessary to the movie as a whole when you could have, just as easily, shifted him to being a willing participant right from the very start. He's a career criminal and he wants one last "hurrah" before he, very likely, goes to jail for the rest of his life. See, it's as simple as that. As simple as that. That way you can also trim some fat, because there's no reason this movie should have been as long as it was. There's only like three minutes of credits, so this movie pretty much runs as long as it says it does. It's not like an anthology movie, where it's like 10+ minutes of credits. They try to justify that length, but there's no real reason it needed to be as long as it was. None whatsoever. I suppose I forgot to mention the fact that there's this overzealous cop, the one who won't let Man-soo leave for public urination and who, really, was the catalyst for this rampage. This man has a violent streak in him, even though he's meant to be comical, and he leads this manhunt for these two by concocting a tall tale of how Man-soo is a terrorist that wants to overthrow the government. Perhaps one of my favorite things about the movie was that very thing. Two very small-time criminals, so to speak, and their rampage that leads them to becoming the most wanted men in all of Korea. It's silly, but I liked the concept behind it. Shame the movie doesn't execute that concept perfectly. As far as characters are concerned, no one really stands out. Well, except maybe Man-soo's wife (or soon to be ex-wife), who's just kind of a raging bitch. She has no reason to leave him, because he's a good man and has proven to be a good man. She just wants to leave him because he's too much of a goody-two shoes. And then when he DOES turn to a life of crime, she complains that he's a poor excuse of a father to his son. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, right? And it's not like there's no validity to what she says, because I understand that you shouldn't be either end of the extreme. But she's such an insufferable character and the actress who portrays her doesn't do a good job at making her seem like an actual human, instead of the stereotypical nag wife. I mean that also has to do with direction, of course, so I blame the director mostly for Man-soo's wife's characterization. Man-soo is, obviously, the most interesting character in the entire film. He's just had enough and he's not gonna take anyone else's bullshit anymore. If the movie hadn't been so focused on giving Chul-gon something to do, dramatically, I would have liked this movie so much more. Because I like the idea of exploring this man's psyche, why he is the way he is (his father) and why he's blown up the way he has as a result. But the movie isn't as concerned with that, sadly. Having said all of this, I actually liked this movie better going through this review than I did when I finished it earlier this morning. I was reading to go 2 stars, but 2.5 is where I'll settle. It's a movie with some decent ideas, but its length, unnecessary drama and (sometimes) poor characterization make this an average viewing experience. Nothing more, nothing less.
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