The Host


Reviewed by: sukting

December 15, 2009

Rating: two-point-five

How long
2 hours

Foreword
It was the talk of 2006 Cannes international film. Why did it generate
so much discussion as an imaginary movie? Is it as good as a U.S.
movie?

Story

Gang-Du (Song Kang-ho) and his father (Byeon Hie-bong) own a food-
stand on the banks of the Han River. They live with his siblings. His
daughter, Hyun-Seo ( Ko A-sung) lives with him all along after his
mother leaves her. She is a secondary school pupil. Gang-du’s younger
sister is Nam-Joo(Bae Du-na), an archery finalist has trouble taking
too long to shoot. His younger brother is Nam-Il(Park Hae-il) who is
a university undergraduate. Gang-Du’s siblings do not get along well
with him as he often makes silly mistakes.

One day, Gang-Du notices that a large crowd of people taking pictures
near Han River. They talk about a strange creature hanging from Han
River Bridge. Suddenly, it appears and eats people. Gang-Du and Hyun-
Seo run for their lives, but it grabs Hyun-Seo and disappears back
into the river.

The government announces that the monstrous thing is the Host of an
unidentified virus. It could be due to people not watching
cleanliness to cause it to accumulate to this form. A U.S. general who
loses his arm to it is then segregated from the others, fearing that
the creature might have transmitted virus to him and he might cause an
epidemic.

So the government puts everyone affected into a school gym where they
have set up the victims’ wake. All start to grieve for their loved
ones. Nam-Il is appalled that Gang-Du can still sleep after knowing
Hyun-Seo is dead. Then a government authority comes in full gear. He
talks about this virus that the monster carries and asks how if anyone
comes into contact with it.

The silly Gang-Du admits that the creature splashes some blood onto
his face and his whole family has to get quarantine in the hospital.
The doctor declares that Gang-Du must have a thorough checkup and go
without food for 10 hours. Knowing how greedy he is, he eats a can of
octopus and develops a rash to make matters worse. The whole family is
being closely watched from then on.

During the night, Gang-Du gets a call on his phone from Hyun-Seo. The
whole family learns that she is alive and in an unknown sewer. Gang-du
soon makes plans to infiltrate the forbidden zone near the Han River
to rescue his daughter from the creature. Firstly, they try to escape
from the hospital. His father bribes their way through to get a map
and look for Hyun-Seo. However, the police finds them an easy target
to look for as Gang-Du has dyed his hair golden.

They go to the wrong sewer and can’t find Hyun-Seo. The father knows
that Gang-Du is lazy but he defends him from the other two, claiming
that he is slow due to his undernourishment during his teen days. They
escape back home and take their guns.

As a result of Gang-Du’s folly of claiming to have one bullet left
after shooting endless bullets at the creature which goes after them,
their father dies as a result. Disheartened, Gang-Du urges his
siblings to leave while he stays with his father’s body to get
arrested again. Nam-Il and Nam-Joo are separated. Nam-Il looks for his
senior who promises to find him the real map while Nam-Joo is
unconscious.

Nam-Il’s senior is actually greedy for the reward and collaborates to
share it with his other colleagues. They are dismayed that Nam-Joo is
missing so they can’t double their reward. Nam-Il discovers their
scheme and notes the new map that shows the real location on where
Hyun-Seo is. He pulls out the switch that locks all up in the office
before escaping.

His handphone battery runs flat but he manages to send an sms to
inform Nam-Joo. Nam-Joo rushes to the place after knowing it. Nam-Il
also gets help from a beggar on kerosene supply before setting off.
Meanwhile, Gang-Du is with the doctors. He learns that the creature
emits no virus and he is clear. The general is dead due to shock. The
government analyses that the creature is the result of toxic chemicals
dumped into the Han river by an American doctor 2 years ago.

Hyun-Seo finds herself among a sea of corpse and later has an orphan,
Seo-Ju for company. His brother dies after protecting him from the
creature. Both are starving and she tries to find her way out. Gang-
Du gets away and just gets to see that both children are swallowed by
the creature. The streets are in chaos as protestors side with him
that they should not be isolated from the public.

As expected, the siblings kill the creature. How? Nam-Il pours
kerosene on it while Nam-Joo shoots it with her arrow. Gang-Du plunges
a piece of metal rod right into the creatures’ stomach to get the two
out. But they are too late. Hyun-Seo is dead and Gang-Du adopts Seo-
ju. Both are having a meal in the same shop when the authorities
announce that their capture is just a misunderstanding.

Conclusion

The only thing we see here is how people go after a creature which
runs here and there. It is also on family values. The whole family is
not united until Hyun-Seo’s tragedy. It does not live up to the claim
that it is a blockbuster. The creature reveals its form too soon and
it isn’t as scary as it seems. It is better to spend time on other
movies instead.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


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