Cert: 15 Runtime: 120 mins Director: Bong Joon-ho Cast: Kang-ho Song, Hie-bong Byeon, Hae-il Park, Doona Bae and Ah-sung Ko
Formaldehyde, to be precise. To be even more precise, dirty formaldehyde. Every bottle is coated with layers of dust. Pour ’em into the sink
Bong Joon-ho is becoming one of my all time favourite directors. He may have 5 feature length films but he is a talent that any cinema lover should witness. The Host has eluded for some time now, if you are a long term reader you will know I do love giant monster movies. So what is The Host about? Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea’s Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted waters and sinks its ravenous jaws into local residents. When the creature abducts their daughter (Ah-sung Ko), a vendor (Song Kang-ho) and his family decide that they are the only ones who can save her.
The main idea of the movie isn’t really about killing the monster or finding Hyun Soo. It’s about questioning society and human nature. Making us think about who the real monsters are. So as you are watching this movie pay close attention and really try to think about what the director/writer is trying to convey. If you pay close enough attention you will slowly begin to see how this movie makes us question all aspects of society and ourselves and seeing that there is a monster in everything. The sub theme of this movie is getting a second chance which is pretty clear and it does give the movie a nice circular feeling as the ending strongly resembles the beginning and does well in tying together the character development as well as the main plot.
Glorious black comedy brilliantly ties together flashes of spine-chilling terror, human struggle and likeable if offbeat characterisations, culminating in a contemporary monster classic. The screenplay is particularly adept at magnifying the trivial issues that peripherally co-exist, while never losing touch with the key elements of the story or narrative. What results is a fascinating, multi-faceted picture that displays all the key elements of dry humour, suspense, adventure and tragedy.Whilst almost all of the cast would be unrecognisable to English-speaking audiences, of particular note is the leading character, a perennial loser who’s daughter is “abducted” by the beast, during the initial mêlée on the river bank. His impassioned, tireless, yet mostly frivolous attempts to locate her, almost always run afoul another hideous encounter with the mutation, a ghastly toxic evolution resembling a hybrid of squid, catfish and shark. Stylishly unique, there are moments of deep symbolism and emotional intensity, boldly contrasted with unsettling displays of graphic horror, and almost slapstick comedy.