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The Host

Posted July. 06, 2006 03:00,   


For starters, “The Host,” the first Korean science fiction movie ever with a production cost of 11 billion won, is fun. The natural “acting” of the monster host in the movie imbues one with renewed confidence in the technical prowess of Korean films. The characters feel real, and images and narratives are well harmonized.

The outstanding direction of producer Bong Jun-ho is noteworthy as well- he successfully controlled the tempo of the movie, used symbols and metaphors here and there, and flexibly dealt with the feelings of the characters.

The host in the movie is a sort of mutant freshwater fish born from toxic chemicals. One peaceful day in 2006, it makes an appearance near the Han River out of the blue and devours people, creating an appalling chaos in the city. Among those it abducted is Hyun-seo, a middle school student and daughter of Park Gang-du, an ordinary citizen who runs a small stand on the riverside.

Thinking Hyun-seo died, her family remained to burn incense. Then, they received a call from her, asking, “Get me out of here.” They ask the police and a hospital for help, only to be treated as mentally challenged. Having no other options left, Park Gang-du, his father (played by Byun Hee-bong), Park’s brother (Park Hae-il), and his sister (Bae Doo-na) begin their attempt to rescue Hyun-seo. Opens on July 27, for 11 years old and above.

Mun-Myung Huh angelhuh@donga.com