Viennale 2016 – Day 2: Alone (Hon-ja)

aloneAlone (Hon-ja)
South Korea 2015
Written by Hye-jin Cha & Hong-min Park
Directed by Hong-min Park
Watched on 21.10.2016

Every year there are a couple of movies that end up on my “maybe”-list. Sometimes, I decide to give them a chance, and sometimes I skip them. This year “Hon-ja” was the last one of the movies on my “maybe”-list that made the cut (the others on which I decided afterwards all got discarded), which should already make it clear that I was quite sceptical about it. Unfortunately, in this case, I wasn’t really rewarded for taking a chance on it.

The beginning was quite intriguing and promising. I liked the POV-sequence, and was also very excited about the scene directly afterwards, where Su-min witnesses a crime and captures its perpetrators on camera. However, he catches their eye, and they take up the chase. The entire sequence is shot in one single, continuous take – or at least, it gives that impression – and I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. Thus, that scene was really gripping, and had me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, as soon as he wakes up, “Hon-ja” increasingly lost itself in its twists and turns, ended up being far too long for its own good, and got more and more boring and tiresome by the minute. There were so many scenes that seemed to go on forever, like the one where the camera follows him while he walks around in those empty, labyrinthine streets. Or the excruciating scene where he interviews himself, and where I just waited for him to finally jump down the balcony and commit suicide. Which already brings us to the next problem: Su-min was such a dick; a pathetic asshole and clingy (ex-)boyfriend. And the first (POV-)scene didn’t leave much doubt about what happened to his girlfriend, which also didn’t make me more sympathetic towards him. The movie also isn’t even remotely as clever and mysterious as it thinks it is. And since it got increasingly tedious, in the end I didn’t really care at all about what the fuck was going on here, and wasn’t even remotely inclined to speculate about what it all means. Granted, the first two scenes were great, and overall, it’s well acted and directed. In terms of content, however, I’m afraid it left much to be desired.


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