New for me
I knew nothing about this independent movie before I encountered it, but in a rare instance, the cast is what caused me to purchase this movie: you see, the cast includes the talented Jung Yumi as well as indie pop darling, Yozoh. It turns out that Come, Closer is really an actor's movie, set around five sets of interactions between pairs of people. To some extent, there is a nice naturalistic feeling to the film, giving the greatest focus to the actors, giving some scenes quite a charged intensity. On the other hand, the segments can even feel a little bit directionless, indulgent and lacking purpose.
The film's five conversations about love opens with a phone conversation between Polish man (Filip Svec) in Rotterdam, who is searching for his fiance, and Soojin (Kim Hyosuh), a worker in the cafe he calls. The second has Seyeon (Yeom Bora) at the apartment of Youngsoo (Oh Changsuk), a possibly gay man that she has a crush on. In the third, Hyunoh (Yoon Gyesang) is stalked and then badgered by his ex-girlfriend (Jung Yumi). In the fourth, Woonchul (Jang Suhwon) deals with a confession from his boyfriend and the final part is a discussion about love between bandmates Jooyoung (Yoon Heesuk) and Hyeyoung (Yozoh).
One of the strengths of the script is that its writing is rather natural, giving the actors the seeming of spontaneity in their given dialog (although, for all I know, the lines themselves might be improvised and the situations given) and that makes these discussion have a rather natural feel, but at times, they do come across as almost seeming too improvised, which I'll get back to later. I also like that some of the pieces are connected to each other, in various degrees and in one pair of scenes, this is rather significant; however, the other connections seem somewhat meaningless, even in context of the conversations had and therefore, little is gained by suggesting those connections. Finally, I feel that these conversations don't really have a solid theme that they're moving across, other than the very broad theme of relationships and most of the conversations reveal very little beyond the moment of those conversations, leaving me to wonder why I'm watching these conversations.
Director Kim Jongkwan does actually manage a somewhat arresting style, which was perhaps a touch too stylized at the start with its frame matting, but once into the later conversations manages to really get intimate with his actors, allowing for, in some cases, palpable performances. On the other hand, these performances, despite their natural rhythms, feel improvised, with certain twists and returns in the flow of conversation that make the conversations themselves born out of improvisational games rather than a thought out script, which doesn't reflect well on the overall acting or directing. Obviously, having Yozoh on board as a musician means that the film also features her performing in its soundtrack which is nice and does help add to the film's intimacy.
But for all the strength in direction and the natural performances, the underlying feeling of watching an improvisation as well as leaving each conversation none the wiser or moved, makes me wonder what the point of it all was. And I think it's because, ultimately, despite being intimately displayed, the characters are largely inaccessible. There is no development or journey for each within their segments and the conflict is ambiguous in most. As such, Come, Closer feels like a drama that actually lacks the core essence of good drama. But, for still being able to captivate within each individual conversation by intimacy of direction and by believable performance, this film might still be interesting to some. 6/10.
- Available at YesAsia