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Romang: Directed by Chang-Geun Lee. With Bae Hae-Sun, Jo Han-chul, Yeong-suk Jeong, Soon-jae Lee. 75 year old Jo Nam Bong and 71 year old Lee Mae Ja have dementia. They’ve been married for 45 years and they are alike in all ways, mentally and physically. Now they live like they are the only two in the world. Everyday their memories blur, but the romance they had forgotten comes back to them more clearly.

“Itu0026#39;s a mess. And itu0026#39;s a real shame.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe opening 20 minutes or so are very strong and you think youu0026#39;re in good hands. While the film is (reasonably) low-budget the visuals are good throughout (as is the sound design) and the premise is pretty intriguing – you donu0026#39;t know where the story is going and you want to know more (those first 5 minutes or so are particularly effective). Clearly, much time and effort has gone into the presentation of the whole thing.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBut as things progress real weaknesses begin to show. The main bulk of the story happens over a few days and during this time several events occur that would shake a city, let alone a small town. Yet weu0026#39;re not even given the sense that the community is even aware that these things have happened; thereu0026#39;s absolutely no gravity to them.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAnd as the film goes on more and more is obviously demanded of the actors, the director and the script in order to sell the escalating events to the audience – but all these things are seriously lacking (with the exception of Chukwudi Iwuji who plays the cop; heu0026#39;s genuinely impressive and the real standout here).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eImmediately after being subjected to something shocking and brutal, characters will behave and talk in ways that seem muted and unbelievable (itu0026#39;s partly the writing, partly the direction). Occasionally some scenes, tonally, skew off in directions that seem weird and out of place (thereu0026#39;s a couple of scenes that feel like theyu0026#39;re been yoinked out of the Friday the 13th franchise and just dropped in here and they donu0026#39;t work).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eSome of the supporting characters are clearly played by non-actors. This is only a little distracting in the first half, but later the film really leans on some of them – and theyu0026#39;re not able to do what they need to do. Ultimately none of this matters as the endgame is completely broken, and if the script had delivered all of this would be forgiven.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe writing is decent until it really needs to get hold of the audience and communicate just how frantic, oppressive and urgent things are supposed to be getting – and itu0026#39;s then that we find the film doesnu0026#39;t know how to convincingly do these things. More than that – it just starts getting silly.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAnd as we approach the end of the film it just unravels into a daft mess and the sense of mystery and intrigue gives way to a series of tiresome twists that arenu0026#39;t surprising or involving. Instead be prepared to be bemused and a little bored.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThere was real promise here, but a very good start makes the inept final act feel even worse than it usually would.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eTechnically itu0026#39;s generally very good with an assured sense of style and it will be interesting to see what the director does next. Hopefully someone will cast Chukwudi Iwuji in something befitting his talents – he deserves to be in something better than this.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eDisappointing.”


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