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original and intriguing story......but just not one for me, personally.
on 24 July 2016
"Time" is a drama film from South Korea, written and directed by Kim Ki-duk.
It tells the story of a neurotic and obsessively jealous young woman See-hee (Seong Hyeon-ah), who is so convinced that her boyfriend "Ji-woo" (Ha Jung-woo) is tiring of her that she leaves him, without explanation, to have extensive facial plastic surgery and disappears for several months to recover. (Yes, really)
She reappears in the local coffee shop as the facially unrecognisable "She-hee" (now played by Park Ji-yun) and (re)kindles a relationship with the still heartbroken Ji-woo. Unfortunately while See-hee now looks physically different, her inner self-loathing, (and frankly psychotic), self is unchanged. (If anything, it becomes more extreme after the surgery, as things are now even more complicated than before). The reaction of her ex-boyfriend, when he discovers the truth about her, made me think that this was perhaps intended as a sly (South Korean) societal comedy, that I simply didn't "get".
I found the film frustrating more than engaging, with quite a lot of "art house"-type dialogue, which I found wearing after a while.
As a straight forward story about obsession, it didn't work for me because neither See-hee nor her boyfriend were well enough drawn to explain their respective, frankly irrational, behaviours through out the film. In fact, See-hee seemed in need of professional psychiatric assistance, which made the whole thing rather feel a bit uncomfortable.
While light on character development and plot, I suspect that the film is full of symbolism and metaphor (which I probably missed) and it will likely speak to others far more than it did to me.
It is certainly well made and the two cental actors do a very good job indeed, but it is just not one for me, personally.