Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jang Dong-gun, Yu Oh-seong, Tae-hwa Seo, Un-taek Jeong
Director: Kwak Kyung-taek
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
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Don't let the title fool you; very different from the sitcom
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a movie about four friends living in Busan (largest harbor city in South Korea), growing up together. Two guys, including the narator of the story, grow up to be acceptable members of society with legitimate jobs, while the other two grow up to be gangsters. The movie depicts very engaging human drama as it naturally unfolds amongst extraordinary circumstances: betrayal, loyalty, friendship, jealousy, love, hate, etc (i.e. all the stuff that makes you go to a movie in the first place).
One of the greatest accomplishments of this movie is that it avoids being a cheesy, sentimental soap-opera while dealing with intensely emotional subject: friendship. This is achieved by superb acting by most of the cast and the director's attachments to the story; the movie is based on a true story, and is inspired by the events from the director's own childhood. (The director was the narrator of the movie, which is quite fitting.) I believe that such personal attachments to the story, rather than vague, conceptual association with it, gives the finished product real depth and emotional prowess.
I imagine, however, that watching the movie in Korean adds significantly to one's viewing pleasure. Most of the dialogues in the movie are laced with heavy Busan-accent, and it provides the movie with very rich color, social context and subtle nuances. Here, I must adamantly disagree with a previous reviewer, who claims that use of Busan-accent disrupts the story-telling; such statement, in my opinion, cannot be further from the truth. Like I said, use of the accent adds exquisite texture to the movie, and gives the story more of a home-grown flavor. Once, my russian friend told me that he feels sorry that I have to read "Brothers of Karamazov" in English rather than in its original language; now I know what he must have meant. I, too, feel sorry for those who will not be able to appreciate this movie to its fullest. Nevertheless, I truly believe that the movie rings true to emotions and inspirations unniversally shared across the globe, and recommend it highly to all of you."
A VERY TOUCHING MOVIE; 4.5 STARS
MICHAEL TAYLOR | RICHMOND, VA USA | 11/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"FOUR FRIENDS GROW UP TOGETHER. TWO OF THEM BECOME WORKERS WHILE THE OTHER TWO BECOME GANGSTERS. THIS KOREAN IMPORT IS A VERY TOUCHING AND VERY ENJOYABLE MOVIE. THIS IS BETTER THAN MANY OF THE MOVIES THAT'RE COMING OUT RIGHT NOW IN AMERICA! IF YOU LIKE GANGSTER MOVIES, DON'T HESITATE TO CHECK OUT THIS PHONOMENAL MOVIE. THE STORY'S EVEN ABLE TO EXPRESS ITSELF WITHOUT EVER BEING PREACHY OR TOO MELLOW. A MUST-SEE. IN KOREAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES."
Moving, beautiful labor of love.
Colin Maher | Manchester, NH USA | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The director of this film made it as a tribute to his friends, and his love pours off the screen. Cinematic influences like Guy Ritchie are noticeable, but not bastardized, in the inspired and intriguing cinematic style. The performances grab you, and you cannot help but feel for the characters as they grow older and further apart, down their separate and often conflicting paths. Plus, the fight scenes are completely HARDCORE and intense. saivai is right, the final scenes are completely awesome, and they are only following a completely awesome film. With FRIEND, Korean film enters into the gangster genre with a bang, or should I say a stab..."
saivai | North California, United States | 06/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one amazing film. This film has to be one of my favourites of the last few years, or more. I rented it... watched it twice then bought it.The last half hour of the film left me with my jaw unhinged. Wow I thought... this film can be watched just for one of the most moving sequences in recent cinema. And every time I watch it, the last few scenes actually move me even more than the first time through. Can't say that for many other films.But the ending isn't what makes this a great movie. For me it's the great friendship that is so powerful and up front, and actually draws the viewer into their little group that makes the film. Although the first half hour is slow, it all builds up to a point where you can see that these guys are the greatest of friends.And it just gets better... and better and better.Just simply an wonderful film. And I'm now hooked on Asian cinema."