“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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A reverse chronology film with a central character whose behaviour is at times squirm-inducing and alienating even as we're interested to delve further into his past. But we're finally taken somewhere very poignant, and with food for thought on institutions like the military and police, compared with sensitive youthful idealism.
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.
..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...
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.