Review – EIFF 2014 – Intruders (Jo-nan-ja-deul)

 

Intruders (Jo-nan-ja-deul)

 

Dir.  Noh Young-seok

 

Five years from his debut break-out feature, Daytime Drinking, director and writer Noh Young-seok returns with Intruders. Screenwriter, Sang-yin retreats to the countryside from Seoul to put the finishing touches to his delayed screenplay. Although any idea of bliss in the wilderness is constantly interrupted by a series of visitors who couldn’t be more alien to him than aliens themselves. En route to his cabin, Sang-yin is reluctantly tagged along by a local who is really happy to have a new friend, giving that he has not had much human contact since just coming out of prison. The bus journey is wickedly awkward but fantastically hilarious and sets the tone for the rest of the film really well. Sang-yin is as neurotic as he is weak willed, a champion of cowards and lacking in a spine. He is a glutton for punishment and there is a lot to come. Around the cabin there are two hillbilly poachers who give great cause for alarm, occasional gunshots also provide Sang-yin that the surrounding area might not be so safe or tranquil. Furthermore, some young skiers demand Sang-yin to let them stay in the neighbouring cabin. Fearing the poachers he allows them to stay, only to be constantly disturbed and giving unfair demands by the spoilt teenagers. Furthermore his fellow bus traveller is around and aware that Sang-yin has lied to him. It’s not long until Sang-yin’s fears reach climax when he discovers someone dead. His attempts at trying to warn his fellow guests go spectacularly wrong and his innocence is brought into question as the film slides into a suspense thriller.

Whilst there is some great humour from the film, it is overly reliant upon just putting the main character through pain and he lacks a sense of development. Even though the film kicks into another gear it would have been better coming sooner than later. Some scenes are a lit drawn out and maybe a bit too dry for some audiences but there is a sense of authorship behind the film with some great dark comedy. By no means perfect, Intruders is another great addition to South Korean cinema.

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Chris Aitken

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