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‘Come Back Home’ tells story of former comedian and gang leader who returns to hometown

‘Come Back Home’ tells story of former comedian and gang leader who returns to hometown

Posted October. 05, 2022 07:36,   

Updated October. 05, 2022 07:36


"I will never return," said Ki-se (played by actor Song Sae-byeok), who left his hometown vowing never to set foot again. But he did, in 16 years. After graduating high school, Ki-se went to Seoul to pursue his dream of becoming a TV comedian. Miraculously, he achieved his dream right away.

Unfortunately, he failed to gain fame and remained unknown for seven years. He managed to land an opportunity to play the lead in a stand-up comedy, but the TV program was canceled. To make matters worse, he was forced to leave his small attic because he couldn't afford to pay the rent. His father (played by actor Lee Kyeong-yeong), the leader of the "Eight Dragons," the largest gang group in Chungcheong Province, passed away unexpectedly.

He reluctantly returned to his hometown and took his father's place as leader of Eight Dragons. He took up the offer by Kang Don (played by actor Lee Beom-soo), the No. 2 leader of the gang group and with whom Ki-se was close since childhood, who promised a large amount of money if he pretended to take on the leadership role.

The movie "Come Back Home" is a comedy featuring leading Korean comedians, including Song Sae-byeok, Lee Beom-soo, and Ra Mi-ran.

As the title attests, the movie tells the story of Ki-se after he returns to his hometown. Ki-se seeks to find out who killed his father.

Song Sae-byeok plays out the part with great humor. He plays the part so naturally that he doesn't seem to be acting, which keeps the audience amused throughout the movie. He plays the part of a serious and pathetic character admirably well.

"Trying too hard to play a humorous role in a comedy doesn't turn out too well," said Song, whom your reporter met in a cafe in Jong-ro, Seoul. “I simply try to focus hard in each scene.”

Ra Mi-ran, who plays the role of Young-shim and Ki-se's first love, keeps the audience laughing by naturally playing the role of the female lead character in a way that is entirely different from the role she played as Joo Sang-sook, governor of Gangwon Province in another comedy movie called "The Honest Candidate." Actor Lee Beom-soo appears to be error-prone, but he plays the role of a cruel villain. "Playing the role of a villain is attracting in that you are legally allowed to do bad things," he laughed in a recent interview.

The idea of an unknown comedian returning to his hometown to lead a gang group is original. On the other hand, viewers will struggle not to keep themselves preoccupied with the idea that the movie will become just another gang movie. "The movie aims to tell the story of the meaning of hometown and father. A gang group is used as a means to tell the story. I would have hesitated if the movie was just another gang comedy," said Song.

The movie also shows how Ki-se bonds with his old friends over 16 years. The four actors that play the role of Ki-se's friends include In Kyo-jin, Lee Joong-ok, Oh Dae-hwan, and Hwang Jae-yeol. Their steady and reassuring acting fits perfectly with the old friendship. You cannot help but crack up simply listening to the actors' lines, who deliver a flawless rendering of the Chungcheong dialect.

The genuine appeal of the movie is that the humor comes naturally and is not forced. Another plus (and downside) of the movie is that you want to leave everything behind to visit your hometown friends.

Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com