Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)
Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)
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Critic Reviews for Welcome to Dongmakgol
The film reveals the penchant of South Korea filmmakers to mix every genre imaginable into one film. This one blends goofy comedy, war drama, tragedy, action and social commentary for a highly entertaining ride.
This does risk becoming a badly-dubbed episode of 'Allo 'Allo! - but after you get past the sitcom premise, you'll find an engaging and witty little war parody.
Audience Reviews for Welcome to Dongmakgol
During the Korean war, three surviving members of a PKA unit, two South Korean deserters and an injured American pilot all find themselves in a remote village where the inhabitants lead an idyllic life and know nothing of the outside world. Welcome to Dongmakgol is the kind of pleasant surprise that fuels my love of world cinema. It's a very different approach to the genre of the war film and as such feels really fresh and engaging. It shares similar themes to many other films, most notably Witness in that it's a story of people of violence learning a simpler, more rewarding way of life, The Thin Red Line in the way it contrasts the lives of "uncivilized" people bemused by the hatred people who are otherwise complete strangers breed for each other without really knowing the real reasons why and even Seven Samurai in the finale when the violence of the outside world threatens to shatter the villager's peaceful existence. The village "crazy girl" even has a touch of the Amelies about her. It does have its flaws; the style can sometimes get in the way of the substance in that the soundtrack is rather overly intrusive and it is over-directed in places (the "boar hunt" scene is so absurdly over the top I'm not sure whether it's meant to be taken seriously or not). This means it can get a little overly melodramatic, but otherwise Welcome To Dongmakgol is a very sweet natured, Capra-esque tale that gets under your skin in the nicest possible way.
I haven't been this uplifted by a film since seeing Amelie for the first time. I was expecting something good but not this amazing. I've heard it described as a live action Studio Ghibli film and I think that captures the essence of this classic best. It is not only a fantastical journey of a film, but one with stunning visuals and expertly crafted scenes. The funny moments are absolutely hilarious and it mixes dark comedy with a much sweeter variety effortlessly. The scene with the boar is pure excitement and the sad scenes are tear jerking. Never failing to shift the mood with some consistency the film has a fantastic array of characters each played to perfection. Only the American cast let the film down as their acting styles seemed so forced. The political morals do not swamp the film and it is quite simply a delightful piece.
Equal parts of dark humor, sadness and inspiring moments combine in this story of a North Korean, South Korean and American unit meeting in a remote village during the Korean war, so out of touch they not only don't know about the war, but what guns are, etc. Putting aside their differences to help the villagers, they soon find commonalities between them. A nice anti-war/humanizing statement. A great cast interspersed with a touching script and excellent direction make this another wonderful example of Korean film making.
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