Film Review: “Touch”

Review by: Mut Asheru


TOUCH (directed by Byunghun Min) is a deeply moving Korean film about a family that’s in rapid decline to rock bottom status.  Perhaps a little existential in its approach the film is full of close ups and cut-tos with shaky camera work throughout which gives the film a hardline, realistic edge. The two main actors have a great screen presence that’s both captivating and bothersome.

Suwon(Kim Ji-young) works as a caregiver. She disguises patients who became a burden to their family as someone without a family and puts them in a nursing home. Her husband Dongsik (Yoo Jun-sang) was a member of the national shooting team but got degraded as a middle school shooting couch because of alcohol. Suwon becomes more and more tired with her life. One day, Dongsik gets involved in a hit-and-run accident, and her daughter gets sexually molested. Suwon’s life is insecure and in constant mess… Suwon becomes spiteful; she has no time to feel guilty in order to make money for settlement. She visits Jinho’s house, the boy who sexually molested her daughter. Jinho’s mother is immobile and dying in pain. This family is sinking into an endless swamp of despair but a miracle comes to them at the very last moment.

touchmsweb1As Suwon, lead actress Kim Ji-Young did an excellent job of bringing an air of vulnerability to her struggling character. Her performance was set at the right pitch and tempo giving her character depth and dimension. There were moments of completely siding with the Suwon and being utterly put off by her behavior. Likewise Yoo Jun-sang, played the recovering alcoholic with grace and reliability. He was able to translate the “feeling” of someone truly wanting to do better and the despair that comes with “failure to do better” onto the screen.

Throughout the film, I kept thinking …”well at least I’m not that fucked up”. But the film’s harsh reality is in and of itself a saving grace. A cerebral audience will watch and realize “…there but for the grace of something bigger than me, go I”. TOUCH has a redeeming quality and a straightforward narrative that neither makes excuses for or apologizes for its characters.

*Shown at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) 2012


No rating, 99 minutes
Director: MIN Byung-hun
Cast: YU Jun-sang , KIM Ji-young


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