I once watched The Fall. I thought it was going to be a film about redemption or acceptance of life. I wasn’t so wrong, but what I didn’t know it was that the film was going to leave me feeling like I had seen far and beyond what is real. I have been seeking that feeling but haven’t felt it as strong as I did with that film.
Dream, a 2008 film of director Kim Ki-duk has brought me back to that weird state… and I have the need to scribble.
Dream is an artistic film, and a very weird one. I have read Kim Ki-duk is famous for his films being all very much on the eccentric side, lots of hidden messages about humanity, life, etc; lots of gorgeous photography, with close-ups in abundance, in which you could almost see the person’s soul. And lots of senseless behaviors, brought in by a good script, and more than exceptional acting.
The story of Dream, is very simple: Jin (the main character) has dreams of going to see his ex-girlfriend who left him with a broken heart.
One night he wakes up after having a nightmare in which he got into a car accident and had fled the scene. The dream felt so real, he drives up the same road -which he had driven in his dream- and gets to an intersection where police are investigating a hit and run. He realizes then, is the same car and same spot he had saw in his dream. In shock, he follows the cops when he hears they have spotted the car involved in the accident, and they have found the main suspect.
The police takes into custody Ran, a young woman who claims she had been asleep all night, and had no idea who had done damages to her car and why it was involved in a hit and run.
It becomes known, to both Jin and Ran’s surprise, that he dreams while she acts it out.
Like usually most artistic films are, Dream has a very simple plot and easy to follow. What is complex is how the characters express and act their emotions. Just when you think the movie is weird enough, it gets even weirder. You keep watching because you are into the story and wish to know the end… but you know the end, its inevitable. However, it is more beautiful than what you could have ever thought.
What I loved most about Dream was the music. It was one of the things that caught my attention the most, because it fits with the emotions of the characters so well… there is very little need for dialogue, and you will still understand the feelings the actors are projecting.
Another good point is the acting. Odagiri Joe, and Lee Na-young have wonderful chemistry, and their interactions help make the ride a bit less tedious and dark. Even when he is speaking in Japanese and she in Korean, they understand each other in more than words, and that is something you feel as well. I admit, at first I was a bit bothered by the fact that they didn’t dubbed Odagiri, nor had him speak Korean (if he does, I don’t know). However, later I came to understand the director’s choice for this. It seems more organic, the actors can express themselves in their native language and the feelings are stronger, it takes good acting to still build some bonding and project that beyond the barrier of language; and at the same time, it seems more like an illusion, which goes well with the theme of the movie.
What I found frustrating was the excessive randomness, which is what undeniably makes this film such a rare phenomenon. I think, it could have been as beautiful as it was, without some of the idiosyncrasy.
Is like when an artist who appreciates the beauty that lies behind the struggle of creative thinking -which reflects on a simple work of art- finds himself pulled into analyzing a piece of metal, or furniture that is called art just for the sake of being odd, and “expressive” -which has nothing to do with that exactly. But it seems to be one of the biggest trends among contemporary artist.
I give this movie 7 stars out of 10, for the music, acting, cinematography, and the beautiful ending. Otherwise, it would have taken a much-deserved 3.
Check out the gallery for pictures of our two in one dream lovers… err, don’t blame for the OdiJoe excess, Im biased :p