Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Host

Joon-ho Bong | 2006 | 119 min | South Korea

The Host sets up as a fairly traditional monster movie. A sea monster, to be specific, spawned of the old poison-in-the-river trick. The film follows the Park family in their hunt for the beast after it accosts the family's youngest member, thirteen-year-old Hyun-seo.

Within the story of the family versus the monster, however, is a great deal of commentary on US imperialism + the military occupation of South Korea. It was unexpected, but adds some substance to the film, as well as a few laughs aimed at the caricatures of US military scientists run amok. The amount of very dark comedy in The Host is surprising. One of the movie's funniest moments comes in the form of the Park family's prolonged wailing during a memorial service when they believe Hyun-seo to be dead. A few jabs about the international reaction to SARS are tossed in for good measure, too.

It suffers from being a little overlong, but once it gets past a few false endings, the eventual climax is very well played out: dramatic, funny, + action packed. There are better genre films out there, but The Host is a fun throwback.

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