A slipshod movie, with a genuine starNever go out with a girl who’s a police officer. You could get killed trying to help her. But if she’s Jeon Ji-hyun, hey, it’s probably worth the risk.
If Jeon Ji-hyun says at a press conference to publicize her film that it’s the best Korean movie of the year, then it’s the best movie of the year. No matter how messy it turns out to be, or how many scenes it has that are like holes in Swiss cheese, if it stars Jeon, the 23-year-old Korean actress who sent her many Asian fans into sweet turmoil in “My Sassy Girl,” there is always room for forgiveness.
The film “Windstruck” deals with the romance between Gyeong-jin (Jeon), an ambitious police officer, and Myung-woo (Jang Hyuk), a timid high school physics teacher who, by chance, happens to spend a night with her and falls in love.
Halfway through the film, Myung-woo is fatally stabbed by a serial killer after rushing to help his girlfriend in the line of duty. The rest of the story is about Gyeong-jin’s flashbacks to their time together, and her reunions with the ghost of Myung-woo.
The Korean title of this film, roughly translated as “Let me introduce my girlfriend,” makes it clear that it’s mostly about Jeon. Indeed, “Windstruck” is a film that relies largely on its star’s glamour and youthful sensibility for its cinematic spectacle.
It’s got the right cast and most of the elements for a successful romantic comedy, and is backed by major distributors and investors all over Asia. Marketing-wise, at least, it’s evident that this film has been meticulously produced for fans of Jeon, including the choice of director, Gwak Jae-yong, whose “My Sassy Girl” made her an Asian superstar.
It seems that both the director and the producers were trying to be frank about the marketing scheme. Scenes are inserted throughout the film in which Jeon shares the screen with products from companies for which she appeared as a model in TV commercials. The first few such scenes are cute: Gyeong-jin dressed up in jeans by Giordano, or eating Biyote yogurt as her boyfriend has dinner. But by the time Gyeong-jin is jumping off a building and being saved by a shampoo ad balloon, or other police officers are seen eating Biyote, the scenes just break the flow of the story for no reason.
Some scenes go beyond reasonable cinematic experimentation. The frequent changes in style, from comedy to melodrama, from fantasy to action, all in one film, are often out of tune, without adequate transitions. The frequent use of wind to represent the spirit of Myung-woo is a prominent example of the film’s lack of imagination.
Right from the start of production, “Windstruck” attracted more media attention than it needed by securing a number of major investors in China and in Hong Kong, where a premiere screening was held last week. Some in the industry are saying that the film is a guaranteed success.
But while “Windstruck’s” flaws are obvious, there is something quite hypnotic about Jeon. Often, there is no real acting involved in her performance. But there is something classic about her presence on the screen that goes beyond the surface. Maybe that’s her charm. Perhaps the movie didn’t need so much money.
Drama / Korean
Now showing daily with English subtitles at Cine Core in the Jongno district (see cinema map), at 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 8:40 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
by Park Soo-mee