AsianMovieWeb logo
Head - Movie Poster
Original Title:

South Korea 2011

Action, Comedy

Cho Un

Park Ye-jin
Ryoo Deok-hwan
Baek Yoon-shik
Danny Ahn
Park Yeong-seo
Oh Dal-soo

Search AsianMovieWeb


Story: Shin Hong-joo (Park Ye-jin) is a reporter for a second-rate high-society news broadcast. Actually, she always dreamt of achieving more in life. When one day she gets a call from her younger brother Hong-je (Ryoo Deok-hwan) who claims that he found a severed head in one of the parcels he is delivering, she doesn't believe a word he says and hangs up. However, shortly after that she hears in the news that the head of a famous scientist, who committed suicide, has gone missing. Hong-joo sees her chance for a big story but she can't reach her brother anymore. That is because he has been kidnapped by the funeral director Baek-jeong (Baek Yoon-shik), who had different plans for the head. Baek-jeong wants to get the head back which Hong-je has hidden somewhere beforehand. Therefore, he forces the reporter to find it if she ever wants to see her brother alive again. But there seem to be other parties involved in this case and in the end Hong-joo might actually get the story of a lifetime.

Review: "Head" is a mixed bag of an action comedy which in fact manages to score with its black humor, but constantly loses the viewer's goodwill because of a messily written screenplay. Oftentimes the camera work and the editing also look very experimental, which at some points leads to extremely questionable results, at others creates some pretty inventive and tense moments. Unfortunately, the pros and cons in the movie are rather balanced, even though there are some missteps that are really hard to ignore. Until the first half of the movie has passed and even long after that you can't say what to make of this film, but towards the showdown the movie actually becomes captivating, an effort that you surely wouldn't have believed "Head" would be able to pull off.

It is tremendously difficult to connect with the film since we are instantly thrown into the action and have no time at all to get to know the characters. They also remain pretty shallow whereas it's especially unfortunate that Baek Yoon-shik's ("The President's Last Bang") talent is wasted here. He simply plays a psycho, who he at least manages to give more onscreen presence than he actually would have got in the hands of a different actor. Park Ye-jin ("Memento Mori") plays the unusual reporter who also shows her weaknesses and fears but most of the time is surprisingly tough. Sadly, she isn't always the sharpest tool in the box. Ryoo Deok-hwan ("My Son") is somewhat likeable but he remains a fully one-dimensional character.

This is a problem that runs through all the individuals in the movie. The reporter as well as a few of the supporting characters are all somewhat likeable and they also have a few pecularities, but they lack personality. But that isn't the biggest problem. The worst thing is the screenplay which has been written without regards to any rules. It also appears that on several occasions something has been added to the script later on just to make the story look more suspenseful, but this merely results in some awkward scenes. Sometimes the movie doesn't know exactly where it wants to go with its humor either. To some extent it's pretty black, but there are also moments in which it simply doesn't work out. This is mainly the fault of different scenes strung together without any real connection.

The chase after the head respectively the desperate attempt of the reporter to exchange it for her brother is basically staged in a pretty captivating manner, but it is taking place beyond any groundwork of logic. You constantly have to scratch your head about how the characters act and moreover there are so many holes in the script that you can't count them. The inconsistent screenplay is at least held together by a few action sequences. But the same applies here as everywhere else: Sometimes they are quite captivating, at others they are realized outright amateurish. Park Ye-jin masters a physical demanding role, though, and at least this deserves some kudos. Aside from that it has to be noted that the action scenes are partly captured by unusual camera work.

What's oftentimes really terrible is the editing. It happens that you have to suddenly readjust to events on screen and wonder if you just somehow missed a few minutes of the movie. Unfortunately, the attempt to loosen up the action with some lighthearted and black humor doesn't always succeed either so that in the end we are presented with a genre mix that is neither fish nor fowl. It may be commendable that "Head" tries to be socio-critical when towards the end the media is poked fun at, and at other times there are flashing up some nice ideas, too, but the movie remains simply too inconsistent to deliver more than just a few scattered minutes of neat entertainment. What a shame.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Yesasia Logo