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Dangerously Excited - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Na-neun Gong-moo-won-i-da

South Korea 2011

Genre:
Comedy, Drama

Director:
Koo Ja-hong

Cast:
Yoon Je-moon
Song Ha-yoon
Seong Joon
Seo Hyeon-jeong
Kwon Soo-hyeon
Kim Hee-jeong


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Dangerously Excited

Dangerously Excited - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Han Dae-hee (Yoon Je-moon) works as a government employee and has to listen to random complaints of fellow residents every day. However, since nothing manages to agitate him he doesn't mind doing his work. He enjoys his simple life in front of the tv and his everyday life is something he appreciates. But one day he finds himself in the unpleasant situation of having to help out a music band of adolescents after he is in some way responsible for them to have been cheated of their band practice room. By necessity he offers them his basement as a practice room and the adolescents make heavy use of it. Even to such a degree that Dae-hee soon doesn't even get a wink of sleep anymore. But not only sleep deprivation takes its toll on him but also the fact this his everyday life is becoming unbalanced. When soon afterwards the band splits he is asked by guitarist Min-gi (Seong Joon), keyboarder Mi-seon (Song Ha-yoon) as well as drummer Yeong-jin (Seo Hyeon-jeong) if he wants to play the bass for them. At first, he shoots down their request as it seems completely ridiculous - but actually the government employee slowly starts to get interested...

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Review: Music-centered dramas aren't an unwritten page in Korea anymore. Still, only few movies fall into the category of a "The Happy Life", most of them work on the same kitsch-level as "Do Re Mi Fa So La Si Do". But where exactly is "Dangerously Excited" to be located? Certainly among the better movies of the genre, even though the story struggles with running the risk of losing its way and a problematic pacing being the result of it. The drama is peppered with deadpan humor that celebrates an otherwise subtly presented story revolving around the familiar escape from the norm and dull everyday life. Thanks to a fantastic lead actor the drama looks more profound than it actually is in the end.

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Dae-hee is a textbook example of a government employee. Very conservative, always accurate and also a bit boring. His favorite pastime is watching tv and if things stay as they are he considers it a bliss. He hates suprises. All of this we get to know through his own words since particularly at the beginning he very strongly steps into the limelight as a narrator. Of course, changes are still happening in his life and that's where director Koo Ja-hong brings the strengths of his comedy drama to bear the best. Because we don't get to see the obvious transformation of an office bore who finally experiences true fun in life. In fact, Dae-hee remains true to himself. Only towards the end we realize that the government employee underwent a change during all the time, a change that you couldn't fully make out from the perspective of an onlooker.

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That this transformation doesn't hit us completely unexpectedly and thus doesn't feel absolutely implausible is most of all the effort of Yoon Je-moon ("Fists of Legend", "Mother"), who normally is only known for his supporting roles. His subtle acting only lets you see his rather wooden facial expressions, but behind this mask you can spot complex processes, too. Apart from that it's easy to sympathize with Dae-hee, although he doesn't really come across as an incredibly warmhearted individual. A very difficult role that would have only little chance of success in the hands of most other actors. How much depth there is to Dae-hee becomes especially apparent when looking at the other characters who are a lot more easily accessible, but then again more or less can be broken down to being stereotypes or at least come across as uninspired.

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"Dangerously Excited" actually doesn't center around music. There are a few songs we get to hear every now and then, which are supposed to fall into the Indie genre - although that isn't necessarily true all of the time - but Dae-hee's character still remains the plot's pivot. You can't even claim that there is an emotional bond connecting him with the band members who are significantly younger than him. He somehow remains a misfit, even though the band members welcome him as one of their own. Somehow this also gives the movie a rather sad note which is even intensified by the serious theme of finding your place in life and the rather dull colors. Actually, the movie is supposed to be consistently lightened up by a few gags, but they are often presented in a very deadpan fashion and turn out to be quite subtle. This may give the impression as if the movie were extremely serious, but that's not the case at all.

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Anyway, it should have become clear that "Dangerously Excited" isn't your typical happy-go-lucky film. And that's what makes it special! In a positive sense. Unfortunately, the screenplay fails to illustrate where it is heading most of the time. Oftentimes story progression seems to be stuck and taking into account that this isn't really a music film it is also strange that we get to listen to two whole songs during a stage performance. Moreover, you also get the impression that the film aimed at being more profound than it actually is in the end. All of this are reasons that stand in the way of giving a clear recommendation, although "Dangerously Excited" certainly is to be counted among the better music dramas, especially since it is a bit different. So, if it doesn't always need to be colorful pictures or K-Pop for you and if you can bear with a bit more substance you should give this flick a chance!

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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