Ice Rain

Reviewed by: sukting

July 13, 2008

Rating: two

How long : 2 h

Foreword :

This is a first time mountain drama of Korea. It spans 2 year to produce, splendid Canadian rocky shooting and the CG of high technology. It has a distinct narrative in which axes of two different times of past and present intersect each other that includes a love story. Will you be moved by it?

Story :

Woo-sung (Song Seung Hyun) just joined Joong-hyun (Lee_Seong-jae) and his friends' journey to climb Mt. Asiaq of Alaska. However, a raging snowstorm was waiting for them descending from the summit. It isolates Woo-sung and Joong-hyun in an icy cave. To stay awakened, Joong-hyun whose leg is severely wounded starts his story and they get stunned realizing that between their two stories there was one woman, Kyung-min.(Kim Hae Neul)

These memories are of Woo-sung's romance with Kyung-min. An affair that young, single Joong-hyun wishes he had had. In the beginning, the development of the relationship each man had with Kyung-min receives equal representation along with the spectacular vistas of the treacherous hike up the snowy mountain.

Woo-sung tried to woo Kyung-min when both know each other in college. He has tried his best to be a baseball player but he failed miserably. He ended up breaking an arm. It was Kyung-min who gave him encouragement. Both had the passion for mountain climbing so they became good friends.

Woo-sung took the trouble to get a pot of plant for her. He knocked into Joong-hyun in the rain. When he came with a friend to deliver the pot to her, the usually friendly Kyung-min refused to let them in. Their friend chided her for being heartless as Woo-sung stomped away in the rain. Little do they know that Joong-hyun was resting at her home so she could show his face to them.

The two also knew each other through mountain climbing. Woo-sung reached into hot coals to retrieve Kyung-min's gift of her "love tooth," Woo-sung knew the fact that he is married but he can’t help falling for her. His injured leg had to be put on cast to be hospitalized. Kyung-min visited him but had to leave as his wife was present.

Knowing that she felt miserable, Woo-sung pulled away the drip to chase after her. She shook her head and told him to return to his wife. Seeing him down, his friends detected that his marriage was on the rocks but laughed it off the possibility of him having an affair. Both decided to end their relationship by going on a mountain climbing event.

Kyung-min wanted Joong-hyun to give her his favourite watch when she was back from a trip. That brand was also Woo-sung’s favourite brand. She would consider dating him seriously then. Joong-hyun was overjoyed and waited for her return.

Woo-sung and Kyung-min went on the trip. The rope was going to break into two. Kyung-min cut the rope to fall to her death in order to save his life. Woo-sung was heartbroken after that and kept her ‘love tooth’. Although bitter over the development of events, Joong-hyun finally realizes that the purpose of Woo-sung coming on this trip is to die with her.

He refuses to let him die and pulls him on the stretcher wanting to seek help. Woo-sung releases the chain and Joong-hyun only discovers it later. He is distressed to find Woo-sung dead. It is a big blow to him to bury two people at the same place.

Conclusion :

The visual enjoyment in the first half of this film is well executed by cinematographer for the most part the realism of the special effects affect as intended. The second half of the film emphasizes the relationship over the spectacle, thanks to a stalling of Joong-hyun and Woo-sung's climb up the mountain. It becomes so slow-paced that I can hardly concentrate watching it.

By right, mountain climbing has a metaphor for 'problem to surmount' or 'goal to reach.' This movie conjures up an interesting exploration of why it is we take risks, why it is we put ourselves in danger: the physical danger of mountain-climbing against the emotional danger of falling in love/lust or into relationships doomed to fail.

However, we can only see how they give up easily. Not just in love but also in life. The flashbacks can be confusing and unnecessary at times. It keeps bringing you to and fro. If you are too slow, you will be unable to catch the story.

In this relationship, more than one person risks getting hurt since climbing partners are connected through rope. One slip on your part and your partner can fall with you. Like a chain, those indirectly involved – Kyung-min’s mother and Woo-sung’s wife are also hurt by this incident.

I hate the weak initial development of the relationship between Joong-hyun and Kyung-min. The initiation ritual of the relationship suffers from childish and vulnerable arrangements. However, such does allow for the intended differentiation between Joong-hyun's immaturity and the more adult relationship Woo-sung is capable of with Kyung-min. It tells us why Woo-sung emerges as the winner.

Still, it was a refreshing change to see how the three become trekkers. Thumbs up to their efforts. But I wish they can do a lot more to the story. So many people try so hard to stay alive when they are trapped in disasters but why do the people here wish to die so easily? I definitely detest this negative outlook towards life. Korean directors should be more optimistic and not to provide us sadistic arrangements all the time.

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