Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two Korean Movies - The Snare and Say Yes

     Youtube is a great place to find out what movies to watch. In my particular case, I like to watch Korean movies, and there are plenty of such lists on Youtube, even genre lists. I found a video that listed the top 69 (!) R-rated Korean movies and I had watched 22 of them. The #1 movie on that list was The Hole. I found the list credible since all 22 of the movies I had seen were indeed quite good. However, I had never seen the #1 movie, so I watched it last Saturday night. It was easy to find because it was already contained in my physical collection.
     Before I proceed, I have to talk about the title of the movie. The original Korean title is 올가미, which does not mean "the hole" in English. I looked up 올가미 in my Korean-English dictionary and here is the definition: a noose; a snare; a lasso; a rope; a trick; a cheat; a trap. I couldn't find The Hole listed at Han Cinema or Asian DB, but I did find The Snare listed as Asian DB. Asian Media Wiki decided to use the title on the DVD case and here is their entry. Take note that IMDB also lists it as The Hole. I have decided to officially call it The Snare, since Asian DB uses that title, plus that is the correct meaning of the Korean word.
     Anyway, I have posted the DVD front and back covers, so you can see for yourself.

The Snare (1997)

DVD Front Cover

DVD Back Cover

      I can understand why someone would rate this as the best R-rated Korean movie. It ventures into taboo territory in the form of perverse emotional desire, which makes the viewer feel rather uncomfortable. I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't mention the exact nature of the emotional abnormalities. I was constantly surprised and I would call this "original". I very, very, very seriously doubt this will ever be remade by Hollywood, due to the uncomfortable nature of the content. 
     As for the picture quality of the DVD, it varies between low and high resolution. Some scenes look like VHS quality and others are clearly DVD quality. I don't know how that works, but it doesn't in any way alter the viewing experience. The movie is shocking enough that it could be in black and white and it wouldn't make a difference. There is an oddity to report about the DVD. The soundtrack is actually available through the on-screen menu. I have never seen anything like that before. 

     The second movie I feel compelled to blog about is called 세이 예스 in Korean, which is a spelling of the English "Say Yes".  So the title is rather straightforward and means the same thing in both languages. Why am I mentioning this movie in the same blog post as the above movie? They were both made by the same director. I had seen Say Yes several years ago and something happened that was not supposed to happen. In other words, I was thoroughly shocked.
Say Yes (2001)

DVD Front Cover

DVD Back Cover

     Besides the thing that was not supposed to happen, there was something else that shocked me. 박중훈 (Park Joong-Hoon) plays a psychologically demented and manifestly violent character that torments the lives of others. He is normally a comedian. Consider for a moment watching Jim Carrey playing a violent hard-edged murderer that stops at nothing to make his human prey suffer. Wouldn't it be strange to watch the jovial Carrey kill people?
     The main theme in this movie, as in The Snare, is torment. Someone, for a reason they consider rational, has decided to torment other people. The torment is far more physical than psychological and there is no concern for the comfort of the victims. 
     These are both "hard-hitting" movies and I would recommend them if you enjoy being shocked.


  1. please where can i watch and or buy this movie. i have been looking for it over a year.. it is out of print on amazon!