I love it when an attractive entertainer, specifically known for his good looks, steps out of his comfort zone, and attempts to tackle a role or project that shatters expectations or barriers that have caged him. I love it when said entertainer just simply attempts it. This tells me that he wants to be taken seriously as an artist, and is willing to sacrifice his good looks and reputation as a hottie to do so. For example, Charlize Theron in “Monster” or Leonardo DiCaprio in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”. Stellar performances to say the least.
In the way that Yoo Ji-Tae blew me away with his portrayal of the deranged bad guy in “Old Boy”, I think Won Bin took a similar path when he played a mentally-challenged young man accused of committing a heinous murder in “Mother”, a 2009 critically-acclaimed Korean film that made him show up on my radar as well. I always thought he was hot, but now that I see his depth as an artist, I will keep an eye out for his upcoming projects and look forward to them, no less.
“Mother” tells the story of 28-year-old Do-joon, a mentally challenged young man, who lives with his mom. The murder of a teen schoolgirl is committed and Do-joon becomes the prime suspect, sending Do-joon’s mother on a quest to prove her only son’s innocence.
Oldboy: A must watch, but not for the faint of heart
Talk about a disturbing film, folks. It’s loosely based on the 19th century novel “The Count of Monte Cristo” penned by Alexandre Dumas. This 2003 South Korean adaptation follows the story of a drunk named O Dae Su (Choi Min Sik), who can’t stay out of trouble, but who loves his wife and young daughter dearly. In the beginning of the film, he’s snatched mysteriously and thrown into a seedy motel-like prison cell where he is kept for next 15 years. For those 15 years, he fills several notebooks with notes of wrong acts he committed and of people that he feels he wronged, striving to figure out who is behind his unjust imprisonment. He never figures out by the time he is released, but is on a determined mission to find out, along with discovering that his wife has been murdered and his daughter shipped off to Switzerland to live with a foster family.
Enter Woo-Jin (Ji Tae), who plays the villain who O Dae Su offended enough to have him locked up. O Dae Su does some digging, and finally discovers the reason why Ji Tae exacted revenge. When I first saw Ji Tae, I couldn’t help but notice how handsome he is, and his handsome looks are in interesting contradiction to the creepy, vengeful role he played. A+ for Ji Tae! A+ for Oldboy! There is quite a twist at the end that you won’t expect, and in contrast to “The Count of Monte Cristo”, the reason why O Dae Su is imprisoned is truly…unique. Might I also warn you in advance that this film is not for the faint of heart. Watch at your own discretion.