Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: The Recipe (2010)

The Recipe (Review)
Anna Lee/Ryu Seung-ryong/2010
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...becomes very engaging during the final act when it comes full circle."

Television producer Choi Yoo-jin (Ryu Seung-ryong) starts tracking the recipe of a doenjang jjigae (soybean paste) a death row inmate asked for as his last words...

The Recipe continues to follow Choi Yoo-jin as his investigation leads him to a young woman, Jang Hye-jin (Lee Yo-won), whose doenjang recipe inspired the death row inmates final words. Her doenjang is said to be hypnotizing, with a captivating smell and delicious taste. The first two acts of the story consists of Yoo-jin investigating and piecing together Hye-jin's last known moments -- the mystery is there, but it's not very efficient or effective. The final act reveals a powerful and moving love story that helps redeem the first two acts and closes of the story with a very deep and contemplative ending.

The concept is definitely interesting: a soybean paste soup that has the power to captivate to the very end of one's life. Yoo-jin investigation, on the other hand, just isn't very engaging. A great mystery has you with a notepad and pencil engaged and participating, a decent mystery has your attention -- this is the latter. Fortunately, there is some humor spread throughout the first half of the film to further keep your interest, so it ends up being more than a decent. However, the film becomes very engaging during the final act when it comes full circle. The romance elements are surprisingly very effective; the amount of chemistry and genuine emotion the pair build during the ending is amazing. I can't say it makes up completely for the first two acts and makes it the perfect film, but it definitely helps.

The acting is great. Ryu Seung-ryong is very funny and genuine during his performance. Lee Yo-won gets to shine during the final act, and she's also amazing. The music is perfectly, it really sets the mood for a very emotional and atmospheric film. The film is beautifully shot; a great use of lighting and vivid colors, watch it in high definition if you have the chance. The English subtitles in the Netflix Instant stream, which may be expired by the time this review goes up, had very few flaws, a great translation. It's technically a very well made film. Director Anna Lee also does a great job.

Overall, The Recipe is a very good film. It may lack an efficient hook and engagement during the first half, but it really comes around during the latter half. Also, as a final note, some sources have this listed as a thriller -- adjust your expectations, this is a mystery/romance blend with a pinch of humor -- there aren't many thrills to be found in this recipe.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Generally a very safe film. There's a car crash, but we never see any actual violence.

No comments:

Post a Comment