Thursday, February 21, 2008

 

Never Forever

Never Forever Gina Kim's third feature "Never Forever" (두 번째 사랑, South Korea/USA 2007, 90 min.) is a superb production from a joint force of South Korea and the US.

Beautiful Sophie (Vera Farmiga) is married to a successful Korean American lawyer Andrew (David McInnis). Sophie is deeply in love with Andrew, but their marriage is at stake because she cannot get pregnant. Instead of praying as Andrew's deeply religious family suggest, she makes an offer to Jihah (Jung-woo Ha), a struggling Korean illegal immigrant, that is hard to refuse. She will pay $300 cash each time when they meet secretly, till she gets pregnant, with another $30,000 cash payment.

It all starts as a risky "business" because Sophie is willing to do anything to bring Andrew a child in order to save the marriage. Jihah also has a girlfriend back in Korea and he has to look away when he observes Sophie's "fucking blue eyes." However, things hardly go according to the plan, especially when it comes to the emotion deep inside these characters as well as their awakening desire and passion.

Vera Farmiga's performance as Sophie is stunning. She terrifically calibrates the subtle progress of her character's feelings with great complexity. Korean actor Jung-woo Ha is equally terrific as Jihah, a very convincing and in-depth character.

Never Forever

It's fascinating to see how these characters interact and observe how their relationships evolve. Sometimes, not a single word is being said, only the camera focuses on details, yet it's more effective than anything else. Each shot is telling us something and serves a purpose. It reminds me the word-less storytelling style of Korean director Kim Ki-duk, who also casts Jung-woo Ha as leads in his new films such as "Time (시간)."

This is a great film about dealing with love, passion, desire, guilt, loyalty, and about discovering one's true self.

"Never Forever" will be shown at the 26th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF).

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Comments:
Excellent movie. David McInnis definitely shows his broadest range of emotion yet. A definite watch.
 
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