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You Call it Passion - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Yeol-jeong gat-eun so-li ha-go iss-ne

South Korea 2015

Comedy, Crime

Jeong Gi-hoon

Jeong Jae-yeong
Park Bo-young
Jin Kyung
Ryu Hyun-kyung
Bae Seong-woo
Yoon Kyun-sang
Oh Dal-soo
Yoo Ha-bok
Kim Ah-hyeon
Son Seong-chan
Lee Kyoo-hyung

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You Call it Passion

You Call it Passion - Film Screenshot 1

Story: With a lot of luck Do Ra-hee (Park Bo-young) did get an internship at a newspaper. However, she is pretty unlucky when it comes to the extremely bad-tempered Ha Jae-gwan (Jeong Jae-yeong) she works under now. He almost drives her mad and since for personal reasons he wants to expose the actor Woo Ji-han (Woo Ji-han), he assigns her to deal with him. Thanks to her friend Chae-eun (Ryu Hyun-kyung), who works for another newspaper, she manages to enter the hospital room the actor rests in. Apparently, there are a few differences between him and Jang (Jin Kyung), the boss of his management company, which she happens to overhear. Ji-han asks the reporter to not write about this or the lack of any injuries he is supposedly in hospital for. In return, he hands her some pictures which show him having an affair with another celebrity. Ra-hee finally gets some credit from her boss since Jae-gwan desperately needed a real scandal in order to keep the entertainment column of the newspaper alive. After the scandal Jang contacts Jae-gwan and now wants to take a friendly approach with the newspaper. This actually is only the attempt to hide an even bigger scandal, though...

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You Call it Passion - Film Screenshot 4

Review: Once again we get a movie from Korea which truely makes it hard to just recommend it. There are enough convincing elements to be found here: the actors and an at first humoristic tone which promises us a well-done comedy for example. But the movie isn't presented that smoothly after all. In the end, "You Call it Passion" turns out to be a movie which wants to hold up high the flag of freedom of press. But for this the movie's overall tone just proves to be too positive. The screenwriter can't sell a serious drama this way. You rather would have expected a romantic relationship to be involved somewhere. That this didn't find its way into the picture deserves some credit since considering the age gap and the not that strongly elaborated characters this surely wouldn't have turned out convincingly.

You Call it Passion - Film Screenshot 5

In fact, you initially have to assume a romantic story to linger under the surface. Jae-gwan instantly has some problems with Ra-hee, as with everyone else, and he constantly shouts at her. Behind so much obvious animosity there certainly have to be feelings of love involved. Or maybe not as in this case. The chemistry between the two protagonists surely works better this way than without any friction as the characters otherwise turn out to be rather two-dimensional. This also means that it's never truely apparent why Jae-gwan takes on the mentor role for Ra-hee in his own twisted way. What exactly makes her so special for him? It certainly isn't love since Jae-gwan is married, even though his wife lives in Australia, and the topic of adultery just is too serious for a movie like "You Call it Passion". Moreover, Ra-hee has already something like a boyfriend.

You Call it Passion - Film Screenshot 6

But we don't get much to see from this boyfriend either. It's one of those many side stories which simply don't get the room needed to give the events more substance. At least, this sort of romantic story is resolved at the end in a rather unspectacular and somewhat mature way. As already mentioned, things don't revolve around love at all. Things instead center around investigative journalism and that's surprising, despite the setting which is clear from the getgo. It's simply that a movie, which deals with media's powerlessness because it has to make money, too, and therefore is dependent on advertisement and rich sponsors, is in need of a more serious tone than what we get here. Corruption isn't a topic best presented in a movie working a lot with sunshine and a good mood.

You Call it Passion - Film Screenshot 7

There is really a lot of sunshine. Next to that Jeong Jae-yeong ("Confession of Murder") is allowed to shout a great deal. Jeong is an excellent actor and he manages to prove this even in a rather less profound movie like this one. This doesn't make his character significantly more memorable, though. Still, he surely has a lot of fun with his role. Park Bo-young ("A Werewolf Boy") first seems to be an odd choice for the female journalist fighting for law and justice. Ra-hee seems too passive and insecure to be taken serious, but that's the plan after all. She is supposed to rise with the challenge and with her naivity she is suppoosed to remind the reporters what's ethically right and what's not. The story is constantly tackling the subject of what a reporter is allowed to do and what not and that the borders aren't always that obvious as you might believe them to be. But for this to really come across more should have been squeezed out of the role.

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Those who believe that the movie gains some depth thanks to this subject are wrong. Something like this works in a film like "Whistle Blower", which illuminates the topic in a serious manner and also gives it the necessary space. With its 106 minutes "You Call it Passion" is just too short to do more than just work on the surface. Yet, the picture is full of entertaining individuals, although it's apparent how much more could have been made with them. It's also a shame that director Jeong Gi-hoon ("Love 911") doesn't trust his comedic moments to carry the story alone, because they work pretty well, but are mainly to be seen within the first half of the movie. An entertaining film which irritates with the fact that it wants to convey a serious, albeit hackneyed message.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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