“I’m going back!” As we begin, a man in South Korea commits suicide by throwing himself in front of a train. The film moves backwards from there, step by step, showing in reverse how he became the man he was.
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..what a brilliant character study..that d events and incidents taking place in a country can directly affect an individual and bring about changes in his personality which conflicts directly with his innate nature is depicted brilliantly in the film....d metaphor of a railway journey in reverse to go back in time and trace what contributes to the making of a man at any given point in his life was almost poetic...
Excellent film, and interesting idea showing the main character's life in reverse... We start off seeing a broken man, on the verge of a mental breakdown, mad... Then we are given an opportunity to see the defining moments of his life and his downfall and demoralisation in reverse... Most people are born idealistic and innocent, and then "life happens"... We make some choices, sometimes it's what happens to us...
A reassessment of history, reminding the viewer of the lasting importance that traumatic events and memories of them have had on Korea and its people. The narrative structure reflects the conflict between a primal desire to go back to the past—Yong-Ho's final/first words being "I want to go back."—and the conscious decision to try and forget what has happened. A thoughtful tragedy in reverse of the human condition.
The script is so dull, disjointed and confusing that Lee Chang-Dong resorted to a reverse chronology to keep the "enigma" alive. Most areas of the protagonist's life are underdeveloped and after 129 minutes of keeping us waiting this is a cardinal sin. It is a film that deconstructs in detriment of building up tension towards a climax. When we get to the final frame, we have already forgotten where we came from.
Bleak and unflinching. I could give this film more stars, in part for the heartbreaking cyclic nature of the first and last scenes & recurring motif of trains like a unrelenting shadow upon the protagonist's life, but there were times when I honestly struggled. The reverse chronology ends up being a hindrance to understanding the intricacies of the character relationships/situations, leaving some motives unanswered.