A TAXI DRIVER (Jang Hoon, South Korea): avvincente dramma storico-avventuroso che racconta un episodio tragico della storia coreana, il Massacro di Gwangju. Song Kang-ho è perfetto nel ruolo di un taxista catapultato nel mezzo di una guerra civile che risveglia in lui una visione più critica sul mondo. Tratto da una storia vera, il film riesce bene a mescolare dramma e comicità, come nel miglior cinema coreano.
A TAXI DRIVER needs to be approached as a kind of middlebrow mass entertainment. The kind that the less-aesthetically-advanced thoughtfully extol. The Korean diplomatic corp must especially love it. And it is fun for a while. The American equivalent would be something like ARGO. Which was not fun. But equally, err, liberal w/ the ol' artistic license (read: horseshit). Obviously Song Kang-Ho is beyond terrific.
One wouldn't think there would be a sense of levity in a film about the Gwangju Uprising in 1980 but Jang Hun's film seems to want to be both political and entertaining and takes full advantage of star Song Kang-Ho to try to pull it off. Unfortunately those moments of audience pandering do take away from the final result turning what could have been a powerful film into something more forgettable.
I saw this recently at an exclusive screening in London. Such is the star power of Kang-Ho that 90% of the audience were Koreans taking time off their trip to visit the cinema in the middle of summer! The two leads have amazing chemistry, and the plot, based on a true story, is paced nicely. But like most high budget Asian cinema it all gets a bit wacky fantasy towards the end, and quite laughable.