Someone Special


Reviewed by: il_mare

October 31, 2004

Rating: four-point-five

Run time : 107 min
Opened in Korea : 25 June 2004
Director : JANG Jin

Cast
====

JUNG Jae-young as DONG Chi-sung
LEE Na-young as HAN Yi-yeon

Official website : http://www.iknowgirl.co.kr

Synopsis
========

([email protected])

on the same day

Dong Chi-sung knows three things others have and he does not have:

he has no first love
he has no next year
he has no bad mannerisms

(source from cinemaservice.com)

Despite having dated a number of women, professional baseball player DONG Chi-sung has never had a first love. "I always think it's love, but sooner or later I find out it's not..." Sure enough, his latest girlfriend dumps him, and on the same day, he goes to the doctor and finds out he has a malignant tumor, with only three months to live. It's September now, so he won't even live to see the new year. With his mind in a tailspin, he goes to a friend's bar to drink away his pain.

Not a heavy drinker by habit, Chi-sung passes out and wakes up to find himself in a hotel room with the bartender, a rather quirky woman he's mostly ignored until now. "How did I get here?" he asks her in confusion, and she tells him she folded him up and carried him in a box. Then she starts telling him how he acted when he was drunk, before leaving him alone in the hotel room. What a strange woman...

The next day he goes to baseball practice, completely unable to concentrate. Formerly a successful pitcher in university, he was moved to the outfield after a shoulder injury, and then demoted to the minor leagues. On his way home, he hears an oddly familiar story being told on a radio program devoted to "confessional love stories." Someone calling herself "Writing Princess" is talking about carrying a man in a box to a hotel room, and talking to him there. What kind of woman is this, anyway?

He never even knew I existed...

HAN Yi-yeon works part-time in a bar and at a coffee shop, and listens to radio programs as a hobby. Ten years earlier, a young student in a baseball uniform moved into her neighborhood, and from that day on she slowly fell in love with him from afar. But she never found the opportunity to talk to him, until the night when he came alone into the bar where she works. She is shocked to see him start crying, and then after just three drinks he passes out.

Without much choice, she takes him to a nearby hotel and looks after him there. Seeing him sleep so peacefully, she just wants to stay together with him for as long as she can. But when he wakes up, all the words she wants to say are stuck in her throat, and all she can do is tell him that he's a well-behaved drunk. Frustrated and embarrassed, she leaves him there and goes back home. She decides to send a postcard - or five - to her favorite radio programs...

Bridging the 39 steps from his house to mine...

Although Chi-sung angrily confronts Yi-yeon about the "radio incident," it provides her with an opportunity. One radio station sends her a free mobile phone as a gift. Chi-sung has recently lost his, so she stops by his home to give it to him. Another radio station sends her free movie tickets, so she takes him along. While at the theater, Chi-sung runs into his old girlfriend and describes Yi-yeon as "just a woman I know." Is that all?! Is there any way that she can become "someone special" to him?

Review

I am always impressed with the sensitivity of Korean materials and also their courage to constantly experiment with different themes in their production as they carve a niche in the international world of movies. Although I may not always enjoy or connect with some of the daring approaches to violence and sex, I am glad to have come across “Someone Special”, an out-of-this world romantic comedy that is unique and absolutely enjoyable to watch.

“Someone Special” has some of the usual sadistic characteristics of many Korean movies, but put across in an almost frivolous and comical way that it is difficult to explain the unusual yet successful formula concocted unless you catch the movie. But I love that the director did not resort to shock tactics or multi-million-dollar set productions to stand out. Rather he chose an unconventional and outlandish way to tell a sweet love story. There were no bawling and no clichés of the usual Korean materials, rather a quirky look at how one life-threatening incident coupled with meeting a girl with a 10-year crush on you can change your life.

The parts in the movie when the “unreal” moments are being played out in Chi-sung’s head, e.g. swearing at his girlfriend when she dumped him, the movie, talking to the woman as she is getting run down by a car reminded me of “My Sassy Girl”, but it is just done in a bizarre way (imagine watching your strangest dream being played out), versus the comical methods of the latter. It’s really funny seeing how disconnected and pent up Chi-sung is inside versus what he displays on the surface.

How do you become "Someone Special"?

Dong Chi-sung is one insensitive person who yearns to experience first love. Yet I feel that he lacks that capability to reach out. He has this muted look, and is disinterested in what is happening around him, yet deep inside he is absolutely frustrated with life. He lives in a surreal world within him where he swears and mocks at sappiness. The real world and his internal world are at completely different ends. As he wallows in his misfortune over his imminent end, he meets Han Yi-yeon.

It is unbelievable how dumb Chi-sung is. Yi-yeon has been trying all ways to be near him, living only 39 steps from him, working in his regular hangout bar. But being the eccentric and shy girl that she is, her existence has escaped Chi-sung all this time.

Chi-sung’s life has been going downhill. He is constantly asking others about what love is, yet love has always been near him! Despite all the advice he has received, he is still unable to appreciate that until the day when he throws the ball to the audience and decides to live life and let go of reality!

Yi-yeon is also one unconventional character. Her choices in life are dictated by Chi-sung. I felt that she is also incapable of expressing herself and she writes relentlessly, her entire apartment filled with her scribbles. To have a 10-year crush is a long time. All these times as she stands outside his room listening to the same music with him, serving him his drinks, living so close by, I cannot imagine the extent of her shyness. As Chi-sung seems to be doing everything wrong in life, Yi-yeon seems to be doing everything wrong with Chi-sung.

Jung Jae-young as Dong Chi-sung was an absolute joy to watch. The frown he had, his constant irritation about the state of affairs was a marked contrast to the cheerful and simple Han Yi-yeon. This is Jung’s first time in a romantic comic role, and he matched up so well with the quirky Lee Na-young. His dead-serious expression made me just want to beat some sense into his thick skull and tell him, open your eyes and see the world around you!

Lee Na Young reprised her usual preference for quirky eccentric roles, as Han Yi-yeon, the girl with the 10-year crush on Chi-sung. I really feel that she is very pretty, but she does not like to accentuate her beauty on screen. Rather, she prefers to pick eccentric characters to play. She gave no surprises to her role, and she gave a consistent performance as Han Yi-yeon.

If I have to sum up this movie in one word, it would be “eccentric” (I know I am using this word a lot in this review). And kudos to the writers for the most unusual ideas I have ever seen in a romantic comedy. I also liked the way the writer tied up all the characters and connected the story in the end. It sort of made you think how you may be connected to all the sporadic events that are happening around you, it’s just that you don’t know your role in the grand scheme of things.

My favourites
==========

1) Chi-sung swearing vulgarities at his ex-girlfriend
2) The doctor’s analysis of Chi-sung’s medical condition
3) Yi-yeon telling Chi-sung that she put him in a box
4) Yi-yeon smiles when Chi-sung tells Yi-yeon that he does not have many girls who are “just a friend”
5) Chi-sung’s narration of the movie – especially his last sentence!
6) Yi-yeon telling the thief to hide in her place if he ever needs to take refuge
7) Yi-yeon telling Chi-sung not to pick his nose!
8) Chi-sung talking to the woman as she is being run down by a car – YES I am not joking, this scene is there!

Tidbits
=====

(credit to [email protected])

Korean trailer
mms://mmc.daumcast.net/mmc/2/theater/trailers/T0001567.asf
source film2.0

Making of
mms://media1.maxmovie.com/movieinfo/image/av/Maxknowher_making.wmv
mms://media1.maxmovie.com/movieinfo/image/av/Maxknowgirl_poster_making.wmv
from maxmovie

Interview
mms://mmc.daumcast.net/mmc/2/theater/interview/20040611_interview_know.wmv
from film2.0

Interview
mms://media1.maxmovie.com/av/anunyeoja_no2.wmv
mms://media1.maxmovie.com/av/anunyeoja_no1.wmv
from maxmovie.com

MUSIC VIDEO
mms://musicv.bugs.co.kr/20040504bugsmusicdevpart1/kor/0O/mkor0O271082.asf


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