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Film review: ‘A Tiger in Winter’

Posted April. 10, 2018 07:52,   

Updated April. 10, 2018 07:52


One winter day, breaking news reports a tiger has escaped from the zoo. People want to know the whereabouts of the escaped tiger, but at the same time they are seized with fear for an encounter. That day, the main character Gyeong-yoo (Lee Jin-wook) has encountered a barrage of miserable moments in his life.

In the move “A Tiger in Winter,” Gyeong-yoo finds himself awfully miserable. He once dreamed of becoming a writer but it has been years since he stopped writing. He makes ends meet as a designated driver. But as the saying goes, misfortune never come single. His girlfriend moved out and disappeared without a word. Then he learned that his girlfriend was fired a month ago and that she actually begged the landlord not to raise the rent.

Having nowhere to go in the middle of winter, Gyeong-yoo turned his steps toward his only friend’s place, but not welcomed. On a job for a designated driver service, he runs into his ex-girlfriend Yoo-jung (Ko Hyun-jung) who has become a successful novelist. He goes back on his way, but he was shaken by her reaching out to him.

Gyeong-yoo feels both hopeful and insecure at every moment. He finds himself standing on a dead-end street but feels as if it was a road to hope. The film comes back and forth to the escaped tiger and Gyeong-yoo, which makes audience actively look for the message. “I wanted to portray memories that I had run away from fears in my life,” said Director Lee Kwang-kuk. “It is a story about a man who faces fears in the end.”

Director Lee worked as an assistant director and assistant producer for Hong Sang-soo in movies “Hahaha” (2010) and “Without Knowing It All” (2009). Drunken main characters from beginning to end, ambiguous message and unpredictable development of a story… So, it is also interesting to find Hong’s unique filmmaking styles in Lee’s movie.

Lee Jin-wook, playing Gyeong-yoo, a delicate and fragile character, who tries to find hope in disappointing reality, gave an impressive performance. Is it because the film was taken when he was embroiled in a sexual assault scandal? He played really well the character in a situation too awfully miserable to be true.

Sun-Hee Jang sun10@donga.com