약장수 (Clown of a Salesman)

약장수 (Clown of a Salesman)

A 26 Company Production
Distribution: Daemyung Culture Factory/9ers Entertainment
Rating: 15 and Over
Genre: Human Drama
Running Time: 104 Min
Shooting Time: 2014/Sep/26~Oct/28 (18 Dates)
Release: 2015/Apr/23

WITH 김인권 (Kim In-Kwon) as Il-Beom; 박철민 (Park Cheol-Min) as Cheol-Joong; 이주실 (Lee Ju-Shil) as Ok-Nim; 최재환 (Choi Jae-Hwan) as Ho-Cheol; 정형석 (Jung Hyung-Seok) as Hyung-Soo; 장소연 (Jang So-Yeon) as Mi-Ran; 지유 (Ji Yoo) as Jung-Ah; 김시영 (Kim Si-Young) as Hye-Ran;

CREW Director 조치언 (Jo Chi-Eon) Executive Producer 박재현 (Park Jae-Hyun) 박세준 (Park Se-Jun) | Screenplay 조치언 (Jo Chi-Eon) | Director of Photography 정기원 (Jung Gi-Won) Lighting 방선화 (Bang Seon-Hwa) Editor 허선미 (Heo Seon-Mi) Music 송준석 (Song Jun-Seok) Art Direction 장석진 (Jang Seok-Jin) Costumes 정경미 (Jung Gyeong-Mi) Assistant Director 심은정 (Shim Eun-Jung)

BOX OFFICE
KOFIC Nationwide
TOTAL REVENUE: 303,316,400 Won
TOTAL ADMISSIONS: 41,536
BUDGET: 400,000,000 Won

Photo ⓒ 26 Company, 9ers Entertainment, Daemyung Culture Factory

SYNOPSIS

Il-bum works hard to pay off his daughter’s hospital bills but one day gets fired for being wrongly accused as a molester. After series of failures, Il-bum finds a job at a PR company which provides free entertainment to old women in exchange for buying their products. Il-bum feels shameful to play dirty tricks on old women but he has no other choice. Despite his initial concerns, Il-bum starts to feel a sense of worth entertaining old women. A new team member, Ok-nim joins and Il-bum becomes a good friend to her, making her feel warm and safe which she never gets from her own son. But, the joy of their friendship won’t hold long when Il-bum’s debt reaches beyond help. [KoBiz]

IN SHORT

I know it's not a very kind and diplomatic way to start a review, but I think that anyone who's remotely familiar with Korean cinema would probably be able to guess the kind of characters we're dealing with just by looking at the cast: Kim In-Kwon is the proverbial sad sack who would proudly represent the “life sucks and then you die” party; Park Cheol-Min the overly (and overtly) sleazy, seedy antagonist-cum-sidekick who's a bit too hyper to either intimidate or entertain; Lee Ju-Shil the even sadder and more downtrodden mother or grandmother (in this case only a customer) of said sad sack, whose sole raison d''être is eventually kicking the bucket and jerking a few cheap tears on her way out. It's not just a matter of simplistic, stereotypical characters here… even the actors' performances are generally very broad and caricatural to begin with, so imagine when saddled with storytelling that would make 1960s quasi-realist melodramas look modern in comparison. Take Kim, for instance: there's nothing inherently wrong with his acting from a technical standpoint, and he's always been a very hard-working performer. But he lacks any subtlety, the ability to inject the kind of spontaneity in his characters that can make them off-kilter enough to go beyond the pages of a script and emerge in three-dimensions on the screen. His characters always feel phony, manufactured, devoid of any life. Not to mention how it will feel for Park, whose zany theatrics carry over every single time no matter the role, rendering his performances homogeneously insufferable.

This is the kind of story that would have probably worked on TV as a shoot-and-shelve holiday special of sorts, because while characterization is stale and terribly derivative, these are themes that would certainly appeal to an older, more undemanding audience. But when transposed to the big screen it just feels like coarse manipulation. And at this point I'm not even sure what they're trying to do: the older audience this kind of story would target only goes to the movies for the occasional event film, there is nothing in here that would appeal to the younger moviegoer (be it in terms of casting or narrative), and even less for the discerning, serious film fan. So what's the point? What are we trying to achieve here, exactly? Selling 50,000 tickets and disappearing into the clouds of oblivion after what will be a rather lukewarm run on digital downloads? At least the endless onslaught of erotic dramas has a real selling point and an established niche. As for this…

misaeng

ACTING GRADES

66 장소연 (Jang So-Yeon)
60 김인권 (Kim In-Kwon)
60 이주실 (Lee Ju-Shil)
58 최재환 (Choi Jae-Hwan)
55 정형석 (Jung Hyung-Seok)
55 김시영 (Kim Si-Young)
50 박철민 (Park Cheol-Min)
50 지유 (Ji Yoo)

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~ Last Update: 2015/05/09