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South Korea 2004

Crime, Mystery

Chang Yoon-Hyun

Go Soo
Song Ji-hyo
Lee Gi-yeong
Kang Shin-il
Lee Dong-kyu
Kang Seong-jin
Jeong Myeong-jun
Jo Kyeong-hun
Park Cheol-Ho
Kwon Min
Jo Mun-hong
Kim Jae-in

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Story: Detective Kang Seong-ju (Go Soo) is hot on the trail of a criminal youth gang, that has stolen some drugs out of the car of a cop. However, as things turn out the youth gang might actually not be responsible for the drug thievery. At the same time a professional gangster group is also looking for the drugs and tries to get its hands on the youth gang. Kang has another problem to make things even worse. The car the drugs were stolen from, is his superior's one, who always treated him like his own child.
By chance radio- and traffic reporter Yu-jin (Song Ji-hyo) also gets involved into the case, since she is the next tenant of the flat in which one of the youth gang members lived in. This is why, by accident, a data storage medium falls into her hands. On this medium a photo is stored which shows the drug mafia with a corrupt detective. Yu-jin doesn't know of this photo yet, but she is quite aware that she is being chased after for some reason. She is seeking help from Detective Kang, and has to realize that she constantly is overcome by a strong feeling of deja-vu. As if she had lived this day before, already. And in her memories Kang dies at the end of the day...

Review: There are only a few films I give a second chance when they didn't win me over the first time. "Some" is one of those rare cases, because it has been almost lavishly praised by many critics, and somehow earned a certain amount of popularity among fans. The only question is if this is justified or if this is merely so because cop-thrillers have been a rarity in Korea a few years ago. Still, it's interesting that "Some" flopped at the box office, maybe because of the reasons just stated. However, the movie's biggest problem is the incredibly confusedly told story that remains hard to mentally grasp until the very end. Only after a second viewing you'll understand what the story is actually about, and we have to realize that there is nothing important or complex about the story. The details of the several entanglements are of no importance and even distract from what's essential in this film. Which is the slightly mystery-like story around Yu-jin's supernatural skills and her relationship with cop Kang.

First and foremost, to make things more clear, "Some" proves to be a very frustrating movie. We are presented with a plot around a drug robbery, whereas there are too many informations withhold at the beginning. There are many parties we get introduced to, every one of them seems to have some kind of connection to the drugs, but the whole overall picture only gets visible late towards the end. Moreover, when everything falls into place, there is no enthralling embroilment, but instead it all gets reduced to a simple cop story, that is artificially bloated, and which tries to look more complex than it truely is. This gives the film a very bitter aftertaste.
Furthermore, the investigation of the case is also quite boring. The story's progression consists of many fortunate coincidences, and especially Yu-jin and her role in the case is pretty far-fetched. To make things even worse there are no real surprises or twists. Even the resolution of who the actual traitor in the police force is, is brought onto screen in a disappointedly unspectacular and uninteresting manner.

Nonetheless, there are a few aspects that can score some points, for example the mystery flair, that comes into play with Yu-jin's skills. Why she is plagued by feelings of deja-vu that become more and more haunting, is a question that can keep the viewer interested in the film, and it's also presented quite fascinating. The fact that we never get an answer to that question isn't bad at all, but even quite welcome. However, apart from that aspect of the story, there is only the chemistry between the two main actors that can keep the pot boiling. The relationship is nice to look at, although the characters really would have needed some more elaboration. At least it's enough to make the unobtrusive love story, which luckily never really gets serious until the end, one small highlight of the film.
Go Soo may not win any originality points in his debut as a fulltime cop, who actually looks more like a gangster himself, but he is good enough that we can relate to him every now and then. Song Ji-hyo's ("Wishing Stairs") character lacks some depth, but all in all Song delivers a decent performance. Not to forget that it goes mainly to her credit, that the chemistry between the two main protagonists works out so well.

Unfortunately, the movie drags a lot and there is no real goal in sight. Kang's investigation oftentimes is quite tiresome, and as already said, the story also feels way too contrived and disjointed, as the different threads don't get merged together to the satisfaction of the viewer. Moreover, the unnecessarily confusing story is to be blamed that even after a second viewing I'm still not sure about certain details of the plot. Furthermore, the movie also lacks the necessary tension to grip its audience. There is no action, and thus "Some" feels overly lengthy and stretched. The producers really wouldn't had done anything wrong if they just had cut out about half an hour of the movie.
Another thing that's really bothersome is the disappointing ending, which is too conciliatory in tone and just doesn't fit to the rather triste and dark rest of the film. Especially the song used towards the end underlines this even more, and degrades the film to some meaningless entertainment-flick.

Nonetheless, "Some" also has its upsides, which are without a doubt to be found in the technical department. Director Chang Yoon-Hyun ("Tell Me Something") knows perfectly how to capture modern Korea and bring it to screen. Technique also plays a central role, and so apart from from diverse computer toys, light barriers etc., there are also fast cars feautured in this movie. The scenes on the multi-lane streets of Seoul are real eye-catchers and bring a certain life and pulsating beat onto screen. Here, we also get some very nice camera work, that always puts the great looking sports cars in the camera's focus. The scenes in which a car can be seen, thus also some of the very few car chasing scenes, are most certainly the best of the movie. Along with a nice scene between Yu-jin and Kang which also takes place in a car, and conveys the chemistry between the two quite well, as well as the nice way the deja-vu experiences get depicted through many flashbacks and visions, this all makes for the film's strength.
Despite all that, however, "Some" is simply structured too confusedly and proves to be too trifling for us the grant it our attention for two hours. The end product director Chang delivers is just too lengthy and even boring in its core. A movie that might have had the potential of a nice cop movie, but in the end simply disappoints.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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