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One Way Trip - Movie Poster
Original Title:

South Korea 2016

Drama, Crime

Choi Jeong-yeol

Ji Soo
Ryu Jun-yeol
Kim Hee-chan
Kim Dong-wan
Kim Jong-soo
Lee Joo-sil
Moon Hee-kyeong
Yoo Ha-bok
Lee Ji-yeon
Jeong Do-won

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One Way Trip

One Way Trip - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Yong-bi (Ji Soo) gets together his friends Ji-gong (Ryu Jun-yeol) and Doo-man (Kim Hee-chan) to have a goodbye party for their buddy Sang-woo (Suho) who joins the military. The four friends have all failed their university entry exam. However, Sang-woo doesn't even want to go to university since he wants to take the load off his grandmother who has financed him up until this very day. The four guys have fun at their goodbye party, but eventually witness a man beating his wife. They step in and flee after that, because even though they may have held up justice, they don't want their parents to hear about this incident. On their escape from the police Sang-woo is hit by a car, though. The three friends end up at a police station and are interrogated. Despite Yong-bi's hotheaded actions, since he is worried about Sang-woo's health who is in hospital, it seems that the interrogation is just a formality and that the guys can soon go. Ultimately, the women the four have saved is found. But her statement brings the friends into even more trouble...

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one_way_trip - Film Screenshot 4

Review: It takes quite a while for us to be able to classify what "One Way Trip" actually wants to be and what its message is. To be precise you need a good amount of patience, because only towards the end this becomes apparent. Until then we get a coming-of-age independent flick which wants to be a drama as well as a crime movie. What becomes problematic, though, is that there is no true progress concerning the investigation. Just when you think that the movie really has a neat crime plot to offer you will soon come to realize that this is not the case and the movie starts to mark time. In fact, you very often get the impression that things don't really move forward. And the characters aren't well enough elaborated to make the drama truely work out. If it weren't for the film's tendency to paint everything quite dark it would be easy to pass up on this movie.

One Way Trip - Film Screenshot 5

The movie isn't especially exciting and the introduction almost needs half of the running time. Oftentimes, there is a back and forth between past and present and even though there is only one day seperating the events the use of colors makes it easy to realize that the present is a lot darker. Apart from this stylistic device director Choi Jeong-yeol, who has already contributed to "The Show must go on", doesn't create anything out of the ordinary with his debut work. The screenplay doesn't stand as anything exceptional either. It may have a few interesting motives in its spotlight, as it turns out later, but it can't really put them to good use. Only way too late we can thus realize that under the unspectacular surface there is in fact a movie hidden which could have turned out to be a lot more profound.

One Way Trip - Film Screenshot 6

The different individuals aren't that outstandingly written either. It's still easily possible to sympathize with them since they are likeable guys who can't just stand around doing nothing when seeing injustice being committed. This is particularly true concerning Yong-bi who is a hothead, but at the same time fleshed out the most. We even get to see a bit of his past. The other characters lack some color, though. At least, Sang-woo shares a special bond with his grandmother. We also get to see the parents of the rest, but they aren't elaborated that well. The young cast, among them Suho from the boyband Exo, doesn't have the experience to fill the holes in the script, since only Ryu Jun-yeol has already played in a full-length movie "Socialphobia".

One Way Trip - Film Screenshot 7

The picture drawn of the police isn't really that positive and it's stressed once again that having connections is the most vital thing in Korea. We assume that the case might turn out to become a bit complicated, even the more since there are nearly no clues and the police have a general disinterest in their work. But that the movie eventually heads for a moral dilemma is something you probably wouldn't have expected. And that's just the problem with this drama. Since the flick can go into any direction up until this point and we are left completely in the dark we feel a bit unoriented. The drama also can't help the movie through one or two dry spells since the characters aren't specifically aimed at touching us emotionally.

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One Way Trip - Film Screenshot 10

Things look different when it comes to the ending as everything gets surprisingly dark. For the courage to head into this direction "One Way Trip" deserves words of praise. On the other hand, you have to drag yourself through an apparently unoriginal movie up until then. Moreover, during some scenes, especially the scuffles, we can make out the movie's amateur roots. Furthermore, the soundtrack doesn't fit a hundred percent all of the time either. All in all, you can lose interest in this drama pretty fast. But if you manage to hold on until the end you will be rewarded with an exceptionally dark tone which leaves no doubt that the film could have turned out a lot better. Still, for its dark tone the drama deserves some praise. Also because interestingly enough it also makes the friendship between the four guys more touching retrospectively. Nevertheless, this alone doesn't justify a clear recommendation.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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