AsianMovieWeb logo
Original Title:

South Korea 2007

Action, Comedy, Drama

Park Jeong-woo

Kam Woo-seong
Kim Soo-ro
Kang Seong-jin
Jang Hang-Seon
Moon Jung-Hee

Search AsianMovieWeb

Big Bang

Story: Park Man-su (Kam Woo-seong) always sticks to the rules in life and just because of that he is sticking out like a sore thumb among his colleagues at work. When one day he gets up late and is in a hurry to go to work his wife stops him and informs him that she wants a divorce, because life with him has become simply too boring for her. Man-su doesn't understand his wife's wish at all but the next bad news is just arround the corner. His boss fires him and invites all his subordinates to a goodbye meal. When Man-su gets the feeling at the party that his colleagues are actually happy about him having to leave the company and when they even want him to pay the bill at the restaurant it is the first time he gives vent to his feelings. Unfortunately, he urinates in front of a police station after that which is why he gets arrested. At the station Man-su meets notorious troublemaker Cheul-gun (Kim Soo-ro) who wants to be arrested by the police for his own strange reasons. The officer in charge (Kang Seong-jin) is more interested in teaching Man-su a lesson, though. After Cheul-gun has given Man-su the hint that he could actually just leave the police station as he wouldn't have to fear any serious consequences anyway, everything goes wrong. And before they know it Man-su and Cheul-gun are wreaking havoc in town while the police is hot on their trail.

Review: Every now and then you stumble upon a movie that makes you wonder why it did get so little attention. "Big Bang" is brilliantly entertaining and with a continuously high pacing this social satire portrays a man who has adopted so seamlessly to the rules of his country that he is sticking out like a foreign body. Man-su is too good for society and that's why he is pushed around by everybody. He doesn't achieve anything in life, because unlike everyone else he didn't learn how to break the rules in order to create an advantage for himself. For this very reason one day everything goes down the drain in his life. His wife thinks that he is boring and his boss considers him too honest which is why he can't employ him any longer in his company. What follows is a refreshing mixture of "Falling Down", "Thelma und Louise" and a little bit of the humor of the Korean comedy "Going by the Book". A movie that can make you laugh and cry at the same time while you are sitting at the edge of your seat out of excitement.

Director Park Jeong-woo ("Dance with the Wind"), who has also written the screenplay for "Attack the Gas Station" and "Last Present", brings an extraordinarily well written film to the big screen which manages to introduce characters who might stand as something like anti-heroes but who are in fact two at first glance completely normal individuals the kind of you will find everywhere en masse. However, in time it becomes apparent why the two aren't fitting into society. As the audience we always have the feeling that the society and the police as its representation is in the wrong and therefore stands as the actual villian in the movie. Also implemented very well is how small delicts are winding each other up by unfortunate circumstances until Man-su has reached a point at which everything doesn't matter anymore anyway. There doesn't seem to be a way back for him which is why he settles his score with society more and more blatantly until even the audience is completely aware that there is no way for him to go back to his former life anymore.

Thus, Man-su is a tragic hero whose one and only character flaw is that he isn't made for the corrupt society of his home country. Desperately he is crying out over and over again what he has actually done wrong. Yes, to moral answer to that would be "Nothing!", but this answer naturally isn't the one of a society that is rotten to its core. Kam Woo-seong ("The King and the Clown", "R-Point") gives an outstanding performance and he is excellently supported by Kim Soo-ro ("Vampire Cop Ricky"). Together the two create a special buddy chemistry in the film the kind of you get to see only rarely. Kang Seong-jin ("Some") serves as the antagonist who is getting Man-su into this special predicament in the first place because of his extremely bullheaded character. If he had simply written some sort of fine like any normal policeman the whole thing would have been over, but the way things go Man-su becomes a dangerous criminal in his eyes who has already lead rebellions in his youth as a student.

In "Big Bang" there are frequently flashbacks that show how Man-su has really been as a child or teenager. Of course that stands in stark contrast to the imaginary past of him as a "felon" which we get to see as well. Sometimes we actually don't know whether something is in fact happening right now, is a thing of the past or has just happened in the imagination of someone else. Nevertheless, this doesn't hinder the progress of the movie. "Big Bang" is enormously tightly and densely structured, only towards the end the pacing drops during the more dramatic scenes which is actually the only serious flaw since here the movie also lacks some of the inventiveness that is apparent throughout the rest of the film. Apart from that there are also numerous action scenes, though, especially some of the car races are noteworthy as they have a certain cinematic energy to them that we wouldn't have expected to find in a movie like this.

The big city is like one single giant playground for Man-su and Cheul-gun in which they can create a gigantic chaos. Standing out especially strong is the dynamic with which this constantly expanding chaos is build up. At the end Man-su arrives at where he started and thus it's more than anything else the little things like the fact that one of the getaway cars is just the one that blocked his car in the morning that can score some extra points. Besides, the black humor can convince at any point in the film and creates broad laughter while we are embracing the two charismatic protagonists right from the start. "Big Bang" is extremely entertaining because two likeable antagonists are fighting the rest of the world and are just doing what we would do in their situation as well if it weren't for us being bound to our life defined by rules. Comical, tragical and at all times captivating "Big Bang" is a true rollercoaster ride with a good amount of social criticism. Despite a predictable ending the movie therefore gets an especially high rating, maybe one a bit too lenient, but this movie simply deserves to be noticed by more people.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Yesasia Logo