Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: The Housemaid (2010)

The Housemaid (Review) 
Im Sang-soo/Jeon Do-yeon/2010 
Where to Watch: 
Netflix Streaming 

"...drags its feet..."

Eun-yi (Jeon Do-yeon), a childish but hardworking woman, is hired as the maid and nanny for a wealthy family. Unfortunately, she also delves into a world of money, power, and lust... 

The Housemaid starts off very slow showing Eun-yi's training and routine. Eun-yi is liked by the wealthy family, and she loves caring for their young daughter. Eventually, Eun-yi and Hoon (Lee Jung-jae), the head of the family, start an affair. When words spreads of Eun-yi's pregnancy, the ladies of the house plan to get rid of her by any means necessary. At this point, which isn't until about halfway through, the story picks up the pace and it begins moving – not very fast, but at least it starts moving. Anyway, that's basically what the second half of the film consist of; it gets much darker, too. Unfortunately, I did not like the ending at all.  

The first notable issue with The Housemaid is its unnecessarily slow pace. The first half of the film is interesting, and I really appreciate a deep story and great characters, but this film fails in creating either – it just slow and uneventful. When the story starts moving, it does begin creating suspense and tension, but not nearly enough. I do like how the film delves into the dirty laundry of the rich and shameless, though, and I did think some scenes were incredibly intense – there just weren't enough of them. As for the ending, if you're new to the region, you should know Korean films tend to have some unconventional and often “unfair” endings, if you will, that really pack a punch. However, in the case of The Housemaid, the ending feels so rushed and farfetched, it just comes off as laughable; dark and sinister, but without any buildup, it's just thrown out there for the sake of being dark and sinister.  

Fortunately, the cast is superb. Jeon Do-yeon offers a very versatile performance, very energetic and also somber when necessary. Lee Jung-jae shares less screen time, but has great charisma and charm for the role. Furthermore, the cinematography is superb; the set design, especially the elegant interiors, are stunning. The music also fits the genre perfectly, capturing all the right tones and moods. Director and writer Im Sang-soo captures the technical aspects perfectly, but lacks efficient storytelling and an eventful plot.  

Overall, The Housemaid is merely decent. The story is ambitious and has great potential, but the film drags its feet for most of its runtime and never reaches a satisfying climax; furthermore, the plot feels uneventful for the first half, it can be occasionally boring, and the ending was very disappointing. Fortunately, the plot has a few redeeming aspects, the acting is superb, and the cinematography and music is elegant.  

Score: 5/10 
Parental Guide: Some violence, sex and nudity. 

No comments:

Post a Comment