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Slow Video - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Seul-lou bi-dio

South Korea 2014

Genre:
Comedy, Romance, Drama

Director:
Kim Yeong-tak

Cast:
Cha Tae-hyun
Nam Sang-mi
Oh Dal-soo
Ko Chang-seok
Jin Kyung
Yooyoung


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Slow Video

Slow Video - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Jang-bu (Cha Tae-hyun) suffers from a special condition of his eyes. He sees things in slow motion, if he focuses on them. What at first might sound light an incredible talent turns out to be a problem. Jang-bu always has to wear sunglasses since his eyes are over-sensitive. Moreover, he can't run because of his extraordinary focusedness. Because of this he has been segregated in school and later he has put a distance between him and other people himself. Now he works at the civic CCTV central where his talent is of great help to him. He observes people and soon has some special interest in a few of them. Particularly in Soo-mi (Nam Sang-mi), who he believes is an old schoolmate of his. At first, she is irritated by Jang-bu's odd appearance, but he eventually manages to win her over. Jang-bu's colleague at work, Byeong-soo (Oh Dal-soo), also does his fair share for the man with the slow motion perception to be no social outcast anymore. Between Jang-bu and Soo-mi there is a romantic relationship unfolding, but the woman has to struggle with her own private problems, among others a great pile of debt.

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Review: With "Slow Video" we once again get a movie where you don't know for quite some time what it actually wants to be. And when you have finally grown accustomed to this rom-com's pecularities the drama is pushing to the foreground and destroys everything. But the drama doesn't surprise anyone here. You are even counting the minutes, just waiting for the positive and funny overall tone, which is the result of the film's focus on an odd individual with an extraordinary talent, to be demolished by kitsch and tears. Yes, that's how things are these days with Korean movies. At least this way one of the many oddities is resolved, the question why Jang-bu's eyes are presented as his special talent and not his brain, which acually processes the pictures we see and thus is the reason for his slow motion perception. After all, eyes are just perfect when heading into a dramaturgic direction later on.

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Do we actually have to be thankful theses days that a flick like this isn't revolving around a fatal illness? Maybe, but this fact alone is sad. Still, almost 70 of these 105 minutes are cheerful and deliver unusually numerous comedy moments. They are the result of Jang-bu's odd behavior, which again is a result of his year-long isolation. He surely comes across as creepy and the lines he took from soap operas of the 80s also don't win over any woman. Naturally, this turns out to be fatal, since Jang-bu musters up the courage to leave his shell for love and during the course of the story even makes additional friends. They also have a few rough edges, yet you can't confuse them with three-dimensional depth, as may have been the screenwriter's attempt.

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The movie's title actually should read "Slow Motion" since "Slow Video" is the Korean expression for exactly that. Just like you say "handy" in German even though the word isn't used by English-speaking people for a cell phone. Jang-bu's talent isn't really of any use to him. As an employeé for the civic CCTV central he can make use of his ability profitably at least on some occasions. Although most of the time all he does is running after his love Soo-mi, if she can't be seen in the next to be expected camera angle right away. She could have been swallowed up by a black hole after all. And for Soo-mi it's appearantly not frightening at all that there is someone tailing her via CCTV day after day. What she is bothered by are the protagonist's sun glasses...

Slow Video - Film Screenshot 7

Anyway, things only start to get odd after this. Because at some point there is also thrown in the case of a kidnapper who is woven into the movie in an extremely heavy-handed manner and only just before the end, when no one really cares anymore, things are resolved in an humorous manner. Which only makes question marks pop up over your head. Until the 70 minute time stamp "Slow Video" may be quite interesting, though, especially since it's not that polished, but comes along with a few flaws. We still haven't given up hope that things may head for a meaningful direction. Cha Tae-hyun ("Speedy Scandal") promises to depict an interesting personality and moreover Nam Sang-mi ("Living Death") embodies an unusual love interest. The chemistry between the two seems to work, but in the end the movie is unfortunately crashing into a brick wall. And the supporting cast, Oh Dal-soo ("Master") among others, may make the movie more colorful, but despite contrary expectations they remain flat.

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Director Kim Yeong-tak ("Hello Ghost") obviously doesn't know what he wants to do here. The comedy parts actually work fine, although not all jokes hit the mark, and the romantic story at first seems promising, too. But when the drama has its big moment on stage everything gives the same cheesy impression as the soap operas which the film at first is poking fun at. Until 70 minutes into the movie we would have been willing to regard this picture as a slightly unusual, but for the same reasons recommendable romantic comedy. But while the film in the beginning may start to get lost in a chaotic narrative structure there is nothing to save anymore towards the end. That's how you destroy a potentially fine movie. It seems this trend among Korean rom-coms is still present...

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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