Film Review: “Shuttlecock” – An indie Korean film that we liked

shuttlecock-korean-movie-posterReview by: Mut Asheru

Others have referred to this film as a “road-trip” movie. But it’s not. SHUTTLECOCK (셔틀콕) directed by Lee Yu-bin (이유빈) tells the story of 3step-siblings who have to find a way to live with and take care of each other after their parents deaths.

Shuttlecock is a badminton term used for the ball that is hit between the opposing opponent’s racquets. Knowing that (after a visit to Wikipedia) this movie makes more sense. This Korean indie film could easily be a hit or a miss for some however.

When half-sister Eun-joo (Gong Ye-ji, 공예지) takes off with the life insurance money from their parents deaths her younger brother Min-jae (Lee Ju-seung ,이주승) and step brother Eun-ho (Kim Tae-young, 김태용) are forced to go and find her so that they can get half of the insurance money to live on. The relationship between the siblings isn’t made clear at the beginning of the film which lends to confusion as the audience is left to try and figure out the character’s exact relation to each other.

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Eun-ho is left to care for young Min-jae which is weird because they are step brothers while Eun-joo is related by blood to Min-jae. Which means she kind of sucks. At first we’re lead to believe that the older Eun-ho is some sort of unlikeable teenage asshole but as the film progresses he comes of age and his non-traditional relationship with Min-jae tugs at your heart and has you rooting for the unlikely pair hoping that the love grows and grows between the step brothers.

The chemistry between Eun-ho and Min-jae is the only glue holding this film together. Scenes tend to go too long and tend to end up in the vast universe of nowhere. At times it seems the director said roll and forgot to say cut. But the actors pull it off with their charm and an uninspired script.

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There were several places where the movie could have ended with the overall posterity of the film remaining intact. I think this was more of a case of someone not wanting to let go of their shots once they got into the editing room. Anywho, the acting between Lee Ju-seung as Min-jae and Kim Tae-young as Eun-ho was believable and engaging. I loved both of them at the end of the film and found myself sincerely wishing the best for them and hoping that they could survive together forever. That, my friends, is called emotional investment which tells me that I’ve seen something worth seeing.

SHUTTLECOCK is a nice first effort by director Lee.

“Shuttlecock” debuted at the 2013 Busan International Film Festival.

 

 

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