Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fantasia 2009: My Dear Enemy

This is the fourth film I saw this year at the Fantasia Film Festival. I went into this film without knowing anything about the script and learning that director Lee Yoon-ki is likened to American director Woody Allen. Of course, the film certainly has its fair share of humour given that it smartly uses the economic crisis in the background. However, in the final result, there were times when we feel that My Dear Enemy lacks energy.

Byeong-woon (Ha Jung-woo) is now a homeless man who goes here and there with his backpack. On one day, Hee-su (Jeon Do-yeon), an unemployed single woman and Byeong-woon's former love, finds him on a race track. While she's wondering out loud if he's about to place a bet, Hee-su tells him that she absolutely wants him to pay her back the $3,500 he borrowed from her one year ago. Of course, since they haven't seen each other for one year, Byeong-woon is surprised to see how Hee-su looks mad at him. However, he soon decides to pay Hee-su back in a single day.

If you're looking for a comedy that can make you laugh without being vulgar, then this movie is for you. Moreover, the comparison between Woody Allen and Lee Yoon-ki is not dumb. Like Allen, Lee knows - in an unpredictable way - how to get the most out of a relation between a man and a woman. Therefore, before you see this film, have in mind that Lee has an incredible ability to create sharp dialogues when it comes to having characters bitching each other or just conversing.

However, despite being smartly funny, director Lee Yoon-ki doesn't have Woody Allen's ability to correctly pace a film. As a matter of fact, there are times in the film when you might get bored. In fact, instead of making the film progresses, some of these scenes give you the feeling that they're here to fill up a void. For instance, just think about the short conversation that Hee-su and Byeong-woon have while they're in a subway train.

Finally, My Dear Enemy might not be the best comedy you're likely to see even though the humour always hits you right in the face. Of course, the cast delivers an ensemble performance full of natural and enthusiasm. Moreover, although they play characters who live in a relation that has more depth then one might think, their on-screen chemistry is so genuine. Nonetheless, it's just too bad that pacing is a problem for this film.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:South Korea (2008)
Length:123 minutes
Screenplay:Park Eun-yeong
Director:Lee Yoon-ki
Starring:Jeon Do-yeon and Ha Jung-woo

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