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.
A masterpiece. The final shot that moves closer into his face as his eyes fill with tears gets me every time I watch this film. I think this is a film that deserves a second viewing, as it becomes much more rewarding when you know how it ends. The structure of the film makes it all the more devastating. You know there will never be any redemption for the main character; everything he has done can't be taken back.
Enjoyed far more than I expected, I'm a big fan of Korean Action and Horror films. This is one of my first korean dramas and I loved it, really well told and loved the suggestive camera work and visual representation that reviles itself by the end. Gripping, imaginative and emotional, I would certainly recommend. I will be going through Chang-Dong Lee's back catalogue!
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...
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.
In some ways reminiscent of Blue Valentine - it effectively documents a character ark descending into the abyss in a way that makes it all the sadder - I agree with other comments that the general narrative isn't interesting enough to really elevate the film beyond 'worth a watch' though.
was basically ready not to like it, but with every progressive second it carried such an emotional wallop, culminating in hearing that song again at the beginning. the salience of "life moments" depicted is a bit gimmicky, but genuinely works so I can't begrudge it. Countless long takes with serious payoff in different planes of action; shots constantly being reframed without any cuts. Lead performance was incredible
Whenever I hear story is being told backwards I immediately get worried and put on my gimmick meter. Well this is why Lee Chang-Dong is a genius, he never falls for the gimmick and use the from for the purpose function. Brilliant film and whats amazing is that its probably the 3rd best film he has done.
Each frame is beautiful. And I really like the story and the way Lee Chang-Dong told it. It's like the way Francois Ozon made 5x2 in five years later (2004) but I like Peppermint Candy much more. I'll rate this movie 4 star if I feel more emotional. But it worths watching!
A film that triumphantly wriggles free of its seeming stylistic straightjacket of having its story told in reverse. It tells the recent history of a nation through the psycology of an individual, and deserves repeated viewings. I'm not sure it isn't a truly great film.