jung yumi

A Few Thoughts on TRAIN TO BUSAN (Yeon Sang-Ho, 2016) 

1. I thought I have seen the perfect illustration and allegory of society and morality in a train in 2013’s ‘Snowpiercer’ (which was also co-produced in Korea). I was wrong. This movie exceeded my expectations as a zombie flick and as a representation of social unrest, moral polarization, and class rebellion. You have to give it to the Koreans. Wow.

2. So many punchlines about this movie being set in the Philippines, I don’t know where to begin. (Side note: Do you guys know that our maintenance provider for our MRTs is from Busan? Yep. Start making those insane theories. Haha! But I hope to see the light of day when our train will be as efficient, clean, modern, and spacious as theirs.)

3. What happened to Korean Pop Star PSY after “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman”? He got old, grumpy, and pushed people away to save himself from the hoard of zombies. Damn I hate that guy. He’s worse than any stupid character and treacherous villain on AMC’s The Walking Dead.

4. Speaking of, maybe Rick Grimes and the rest of the gang can learn a thing or two about zombie apocalypse from their Korean counterparts.

5. Some zombie movies suck because of the lack of character development. Maybe future filmmakers and cinephiles should take notes from this movie. That is how you do character development.

6. Zombies who are immobile in the dark? Yeah right. We have an advantage. Zombies who run as fast as Usain Bolt? Say goodbye to this world.

7. Some sequence and scenes are only as good as their musical score. I am no filmmaker nor a film expert but as a teacher of Music in High School, I am impressed. That is how you leave the audience at the edge of their seat.

8. The ending. THE ENDING. That is how you end a movie. How insane was that? Basta, putangina ang ganda. “Perfect” is an understatement.

9. I heard that there was a hint of a sequel. Nah, just leave it as it is. Some movies are better left alone to turn into an instant classic.

[5 Starts. Definitely 5 Stars.]

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full jonghyun cut / length: 48:56

I hesitated a long time before putting this movie on my watch list, seriously it’s not appropriate for everyone, but it’s really a good movie.

Silenced is a crime law drama. Gang In-Ho got a job as an art teacher at Gwangju Inhwa school, which is reserved to hearing impaired children (basically deaf children). The students act oddly around school, refusing to talk to him and open up. When they will, In-Ho will be confronted to a reality he can’t handle and which will bring him to a crucial point in his life as he’s confronted to the worst side of humanity.

As said earlier, I really hesitated before watching this movie. I shall give a warning, as in all the reviews I read before deciding myself to watch it. It isn’t appropriate for a young public nor a sensitive one. I don’t really want to spoil anything (that sounds awful said like that, but… I don’t know how to voice it in another way T^T), but, as said, it deals with a the ‘’dark’’ side of the human kind. There’s some quite explicit (while being implicit, you’ll understand if you watch the movie) scenes. Basically, they show on-screen some of the atrocities in a really explicit way, but keep the worst parts of it hidden, since I don’t think anyone or any country would allow that to been shown on-screen. The subject treated in this movie is quite taboo. It’s not something people want to talk about nor something people want to be aware of, even though it’s present in the society. In short, it deals greatly with a heavy subject that isn’t easy to discuss about.

I don’t like to put number on movie like +13 or something like that because each and everyone become mature at different ages and are able to deal with things at their pace. Basically, I’ll say that unless you’re over 16 or think you have enough maturity to watch a movie that’s, quite obviously, made for a more ‘’mature’’ audience than you can give a go to this movie, but if you’re under that age or level of maturity, come back later if you really want to see it. I don’t, personally, think it would be a traumatizing movie for anyone (by the way, my ethic teacher, when I was twelve, made the whole class watch Aurore l’enfant martyr [need a briefing? Basically it’s a child that’s tortured by her step-mother and ends up dying after suffering quite a lot of abuse] and it didn’t really bother me, so I believe I have a thick skin with it comes to a few things of the “dark”), but it could be quite perturbing.

For the plot, you have to bear in mind that the movie is adapted from a novel who’s inspired by a real event, so there’s quite some ‘’romanization’’ added to it. Even though it gives exposure to such a sensitive subject, it shouldn’t be treated as purely ‘’facts’’. I did a bit of research (I didn’t really want to, but… Come on, I have to do that, at least) and like what happened, the context and the trial are pretty close from what actually happened, but there’s a few things that don’t exactly match-up with what I found (Wikipedia is your friend… except when you have to do school works, but that’s another story…). The plot, in general, is quite well-made. I mean, it’s well-paced, the writer took the time to explain everything that needed to be explained to make the viewer understand the horror of the situation, he greatly showed the behind the scenes of the investigation and the story had nearly no lengths. I didn’t skip any parts because I was bored. The parts I skipped forwards were, basically, some that I found just a bit ‘’too much’’. I’m quite a sensitive person, so like it kind of got me when I was watching it, but, at the same time, who wouldn’t be affected by this movie. I’ll be honest, I didn’t cry, but I was more dumbfounded and horrified by it. Like, it was hard, but not that sad. I appreciated how it showed the true ‘’evilness’’ of the human kind without any mask. It didn’t tried to euphemise the situation, it just showed it nearly raw to the viewer. I was quite impressed by all the images who had a double symbolic during the trial… Don’t judge me… I watch quite a lot of crime show, so I know quite a few things that I shouldn’t… Ah… Darn it… To finish, I’ll say that, from start to finish, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. You feel kind of involved in the story and really wish for an happy ending (SPOILER Which, obviously, doesn’t happen if you want to know. The ending is kind of good, but not at the same time… You’ll understand…)

For the characters there’s not much to say. They don’t have much evolution until the end when each one of them decide to take their own path or when the children decided to come forward to the teacher to allow themselves to have a chance and turn in their molesters. The conflict in the teacher was greatly portrayed and gave ‘’life’’ to his character. Nothing seemed easy for them and they had quite some depth. Since I don’t have much to say about them, I just want to say that the actors really did a good job at portraying their characters, especially the child actors who were truly stunning and who’ll I follow the more recent apparition in dramas or movies.

I’ll conclude here. In my eyes, the plot would deserve a 9/10, since it’s pretty much flawless when it comes to my criteria. The characters would deserve a 3/5, since they change and are quite developed. The tearjerker factor would be a 2/5, since I didn’t cry, but I’ll easily give it a 4/5 for those who have a more sensitive soul.