Time, by Kim Ki-duk

I haven’t seen this film yet, and it’s highly unlikely to show up at a theatre in Newfoundland, but it is definitely on my list of must-see films. Kim Ki-duk is becoming one of my favourite directors. Here’s what James Berardinelli has to say about Time:

Haunting and disturbing, Time is the kind of motion picture that gets under your skin and doesn’t let go. It lingers long after the final credits have rolled and, for those who see it with friends, it will provoke endless post-movie discussions. A meditation on identity and how our physical appearance relates to who we are, Time is the product of the fertile creative mind of controversial (some love him, some despise him) South Korean director Kim Ki-duk. Like Kim’s previously seen international efforts (Spring Summer Fall Winter…and Spring, 3-Iron), this one takes a seemingly straightforward storyline and twists it to devastating effect during the final act. The result is a production of intellectual and emotional power. It’s nowhere close to conventional and aptly fits the term “challenging.”

At it’s core, Time is about love as well as identity. Love was a key theme in Spring Summer and 3-Iron. Kim does not judge the emotion, but lays out its positives and negatives. The film presents a balanced view of all aspects of the story by giving us access to both of the main characters’ mindsets (except during the final act, when it follows only one on an increasingly desperate search). With Time, Kim has fashioned one of his most compelling motion pictures to date. For those who appreciate movies that touch the heart and provoke brain activity (as well as requiring reading skills — this is subtitled), this is worth the effort that will be needed to find it.

I’ve been in complete agreement with Mr. Berardinelli’s reviews of both Spring Summer and 3-Iron, and I suspect in this case our tastes are right on track again.

UPDATE (Dec. 26/09): I saw it a while ago. It wasn’t as a good as I was hoping. Interesting, somewhat unsettling, but generally not too engaging. I’ve seen more of Kim Ki-duk’s movies, some of his earlier ones and now his latest; they lean more towards disturbing than serene. Spring Summer and 3-Iron seem to be exceptions.

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

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