Sunday, October 15, 2006

The President's Last Bang: Grade B


The President’s Last Bang

Written and Directed by Im Sang-Soo. Korean (subtitled)

This is a dramatization of the coup d’etat in 1979 in which president Park was assassinated by the Korean CIA. The characters are portrayed as ordinary people with ordinary concerns, bumbling along even as they overthrow the government. It is billed as a satire, and it is comedic, but I think it is actually just a docudrama with a light touch. This topic is apparently still taboo in Korea, so keeping it light was a good choice for the writer-director. The movie gives a glimpse into the Korean culture at the government level. The language, music, and values are interesting. The shoot-em-up scenes are more realistic and mindful than the typical Hollywood cartoon version. Sets and costumes are perfect. The photography is fantastic, and not because it shows beautiful scenery. It is beautiful just because it is done so expertly. You could watch this movie with the sound off and have a very enjoyable experience. But with the sound on, it is also a good story. The only thing it lacks is emotional engagement.

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