Friday, September 01, 2006

King and the Clown (Lee Jun-ik)

King and the Clown (Lee Jun-ik) 57 - The sumptuous production values on display here almost offset the distinctively Korean combination of body humor, torture and high tragedy in this period drama. It somehow became the all-time box office champ in South Korea, which is surprising because although the film holds the attention well enough, it hardly feels like a world-beater. One interesting element is the portrayal of the bawdy plays that the troupe of performers performs throughout the film. Starting as an outlet for the people, and then the repressed king, allowing him to express what protocol prevents, they soon become representative of unhealthy obsession. It's not quite clear where the audience is supposed to place them, exactly, when it's all said and done. The pacing is slightly harmed by the seemingly obligatory two hour Korean movie runtime, but aside from that and an ending that's a bit overemphatic, there's little else here that belies the director's sure hand.

No comments: