Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Rough Cut (2008)

Rough Cut (Review)
Jang Hoon/So Ji-sub/2008
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...keeps you hooked, entertained, interested, and thinking."

The set of a movie becomes dangerous when a real gangster, Gang-pae (So Ji-sub), is hired to star against hotheaded and egotistical actor Soo-ta (Kang Ji-hwan)...

Rough Cut is a movie-within-a-movie. Soo-ta has trouble with his temper and has sent his co-stars to the hospital numerous times. When he has trouble finding a replacement, Soo-ta hires a local gang boss, Gang-pae, who has always aspired to be a movie actor. The trouble comes when the actors opt to make everything real -- real fights and real violence. So, the two start to one-up each other, while Soo-ta tries to repair his career and his personal relationship and Gang-pae attempts to continue his gangster work. The story is very interesting and engaging, never slowing down or compromising. The ending was unexpected and surprisingly contemplative.

In fact, the creative concept and deep characters are enough to keep you thinking throughout -- much like any other Kim Ki-duk written film. But, simply by looking on the surface, Rough Cut is pure entertainment. There is plenty of tension between the characters, suspense through dialogue, and gripping thrills through the action. The story kept me hooked from beginning to end, and it felt like it ended in an instance -- the pacing is ferocious! Just when you think it'll slow down, Rough Cut hits you with an unexpected scene and another to follow.

So Ji-sub is great as the cool and mysterious gangster character. I think Kang Ji-hwan really nails the cocky actor well. The cast is perfect, overall. The music is also great; the bulk of it reminds me of "The Big Sleep" from Oldboy -- a very pleasing and unique sound. The film is shot very well, too. The pacing is fantastic and the story is well balanced. The English subtitles are great on the Netflix Instant stream; this is a recent film, though, and the picture quality is only so-so. The writing is fantastic from Kim Ki-duk -- it's a brilliantly written film that can be enjoyed on any level. Director Jang Hoon creates a multilayered thriller with great entertainment and subtle contemplative value.

Overall, Rough Cut is an overlooked masterpiece. I saw this film a few years ago and still enjoy it immensely. It's incredibly entertaining and very interesting. It's not an incredibly deep film, like Kim Ki-duk's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring, but its concept keeps you hooked, entertained, interested, and thinking.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some sexuality. (an attempted sexual assault is implied.)

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