The Wailing (2016)

The Wailing Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The Wailing Movie Review

The Wailing is a 2016 South Korean horror film directed by Na Hong-jin. It is a very interesting, yet disappointing movie.

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Not everything that moves, breathes and talks is alive.

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The Wailing Movie Review………………………………………………………..

It is about a policeman who teams up with a shaman and a mysterious woman to investigate mysterious killings and illnesses. The plot itself is serviceable and the film features a well told, well crafted narrative with good direction. I liked some of the plot points quite a bit, but some were boring and disappointing.

The characters are pretty solid for a horror movie plus the actors portraying them all did a really good job. As I said, Na Hong-jin is excellent and he directed the movie really well. The flick benefits from many intriguing concepts in it and it mashes all of them solidly into a diverse whole.

But the reason why The Wailing is still disappointing and just an okay movie, but could easily been great lies mostly in its troublesome execution. The pacing is awful, way too slow and the film is thus quite dull to watch at times. I just never understood the need for two and a half hour long running time for this type of movie. Horror movies rarely need such a long running time and this one certainly didn’t need that as well. If it were an hour shorter, it would have been much more effective.

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The Wailing Movie Review………………………………………………………..

I found its horror elements also lacking. Some of them are fine, but the film isn’t scary and isn’t as atmospheric as it should have been. The overabundance of gore definitely annoyed and frustrated me. There are a couple of scenes that are overly excessive in gore and violence and yet they do not feature real tension at all which was unfortunate. The film is well made, directed and shot. Some of the imagery is quite memorable, but the pacing is awful and it is really unfortunate that they wasted this great opportunity for a great horror feature when all cards were evidently on the table. Immensely disappointing indeed.

The Wailing is a disappointing horror film. It is well shot, directed and acted, but even though it is intriguing and interesting in some of the scenes, as a whole it doesn’t quite work as the use of gore is excessive and the running time of two and a half hours is just too much for this type of film leading to a slower than needed movie. It could have been much more effective had it been shorter in length.

My Rating – 3

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Oseam (2003)

Oseam Movie Review…………………………………

Oseam Movie Review

Oseam is a 2003 South Korean animated film directed by Sung Baek-yeop. It is such a mature, really moving film.

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You mean I smell delicious, like food?

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Oseam Movie Review…………………………………

It is about two orphans, a hyperactive boy and his gentle, blind sister. The movie mostly focuses on their relationship and that approach I absolutely loved as it led to some great character development and mature drama. I will talk about its emotional engagement later on, but now let’s talk about its major plot points. The beginning is really sweet and delightfully childlike and cartoony. It is the only lightweight part in this movie. Next, its religious themes. I really enjoyed those and even though the film did not focus as much as it could have on it, those calmer and more spiritual sequences were some of the highlights here.

As for its third act and especially ending, it is very heartbreaking and just tragic, but also beautiful at the same time. That ending as well as the entire flick draws welcome comparisons to ‘Grave of the Fireflies‘ as it is so mature, but constantly beautiful and heartfelt. I liked its mature storytelling quite a bit and the film is definitely not for kids despite its somewhat deceiving first act.

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Oseam Movie Review…………………………………

Oseam’s character development is strong. Yes, the supporting characters aren’t as memorable as the two protagonists, but that is a good thing as the emphasis is almost entirely on these two. Gami is such a sweet girl and I really liked her as she is naturally likable and even though she’s helpless at times, she was still such a strong female character and such a strong role model. As for Gilson, he might have been a bit annoying at times with his hyperactivity, but that is also a good thing as he is such a realistically depicted kid, but the one who is also caring and just so lovable in the end. The two have a great relationship and that is the heart of the film. And I have to say that their dog is just so cute and so wonderful that I wish that he was more utilized in the film.

Now, for its emotional investment. Oseam is a very emotional film and that is unfortunately a two-edged sword here. Yes, it is very moving at times and the ending is not only tragic, but also wonderful and so powerful. However, whereas it does leave a strong impression, it still has too much of emotion. There is so much crying here, so much outburst of emotion that the movie gets bogged down by it. It is a bit emotionally manipulative at times and the movie definitely crossed the line into overly maudlin territory.

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Oseam Movie Review…………………………………

This South Korean animated feature benefits from some exquisite animation at display. Wow, it is so good, so phenomenal to behold that it is without a doubt the strongest asset the movie possesses. I loved that it is hand drawn, but I also liked some of the CGI that is cleverly implemented here. The movie is a perfect example of Asian natural approach to its storytelling. The attention to detail is great and the flick focuses a lot on nature itself, from the snow to the rivers to the trees and even having some excellent interior designs as well. That snow sequence is so powerful and easily my favorite scene in the movie. But the colors are fantastic and Oseam is not only beautiful to watch, but also incredibly cozy and sweet that I was enjoying myself the whole time.

Yes, the movie is awfully slow. And although that bothered me slightly at certain times, I mostly really enjoyed that slice-of-life approach in its storytelling as it led to a lot of realism as well as a great deal of superb characterization and strong drama. The film is very well directed by Sung Baek-yeop, but also nicely edited and well structured. The flashbacks are mostly great here. Sometimes they were obvious, but I overall liked them as they came at the right times in the story and they offered us a great look at that major moment that ruined the life of these two poor orphans. It was obvious emotional bait, but it still worked to its advantage.

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Oseam Movie Review…………………………………

The score in Oseam is terrific and there were some just wonderful musical pieces here. The tone is too dramatic, but it does have some more lightweight and comedic moments as well. The dialogue is quite good and the film benefits from being quite unpredictable and pretty memorable in the long run. Overall, this film may be too serious and emotional, but it is still an overlooked gem in the animation field that unfortunately never attracted the audience that it deserved for its evident art and craftsmanship.

Oseam is such a serious, mature animated film that isn’t for everyone. It is very emotional, at times even too much, and it is also very slow paced which might bore some people, but to me that slice-of-life approach was mostly great as it led to a lot of great character development and mature drama. And even though it is a bit emotionally manipulative at times, this moving film is still an overlooked gem that benefits from some superb storytelling and an exquisite and just wonderful animation.

My Rating – 4

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