• Jake Cole

    ★★★½ Watched by Jake Cole 17 Jul, 2014

    Bong's first feature is his weakest, though its intimate scale and low-stakes black comedy makes it easy to see how finely detailed his direction is. Dig the scene of the dog-stewing janitor in the bowels of the apartment complex relating a ghost story to a colleague. The decrepit lamp above them burns out, prompting the man to place a large flashlight on the ground pointing up to give his face the classic campfire story lighting, with cutaways to underground corridors…

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  • Andrew Falk

    ★★★½ Watched by Andrew Falk 15 Jul, 2014

    Bong Joon Ho's debut feature is a strange little dark comedy about a grad student who's annoyed by a neighbor's dog and decides to kill it. Things get darker and weirder from there. Bong's wit and style are already well-formed and there are some laugh-out-loud abrupt visual gags as well as a strong screenplay.

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  • Owen Hughes

    ★★★ Watched by Owen Hughes 06 Jun, 2014

    The first feature length movie of one of Korea's most famous exporters, Bong Joon-Ho (The Host, Memories of Murder, Mother and most recently Snowpiercer), is slightly underwhelming. Set mostly around a block of flats with one of its occupants unhappy with his lot lets his petty jealousy get the better of him and decides to do something about his neighbours yappy little dog.

    It's the first film of Bong's that I'm giving less than 4 stars to and I feel…

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  • Nick

    ★★★★ Watched by Nick 13 Jul, 2014 1

    Fantastic, concise storytelling. Not a moment is wasted on anything that will serve no purpose at some point in the movie. Joon-ho is truly a master of his craft. Who else could get away with some borderline-slapstick style comedy about animal abuse and still manage to make it not only hilarious, but also somehow tie it in some genuinely poignant themes?

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  • Hooded Justice

    Watched by Hooded Justice 12 Jul, 2014

    Black comedy the Bong Joon-ho way, and an idiosyncratic feature debut for the talented director. I have a hard time swallowing the opening caption that claims "No animals were harmed in the making of this film," though.

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  • Michael Strenski

    ★★★½ Watched by Michael Strenski 13 Jun, 2014

    "Even a Ph.D. brain is no match for a train."

    Fuck a superhero, my role models are recently unemployed, frequently drunk female slackers with a predilection for sweatpants, who have dance parties in cramped convenience stores, steal rearview mirrors, and save the lives of little dogs from malicious, self-absorbed men.

    A film that starts with a man trying to hang a dog has a long hill to climb to gain my respect, so it's quite remarkable how much I ultimately…

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  • asmallpony

    ★★★★ Watched by asmallpony 10 Jun, 2014

    I fucking hate dogs, and seeing one get flung from a rooftop... Ahh. Refreshing. I loved the ending. Went out quietly.

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  • Matt Suppes

    ★★★★ Watched by Matt Suppes 14 May, 2014

    This film goes a long way from the opening scene, and transforms from a dark tale of hopelessness into a quirky, but still somber, tale of small victories and sacrifices. Somehow the lead protagonist transforms from a hapless guy who kills dogs to vent his true frustrations into something more sympathetic (tough to achieve if the viewer is an animal lover such as myself) and, by the end, somewhat tragic. The second story of a young office worker who witnesses…

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  • WreckItDee

    ★★★★ Watched by WreckItDee 06 Apr, 2014

    Korean auteur Bong Joon-Ho's directorial debut from 2000 is a crazy and hilarious insight of the sociopathic tendency of average citizens of Seoul living in highly cramped condition, dealing with the burdens of life like career and family.

    The lead character Ko Yun-ju certainly is at the brunt of the expectations of his education level as well as dealing with the disappointments of his stifled career.
    His demanding pregnant wife was not helping matters.

    He was also badly messed up…

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  • Eugene McCrann

    ★★★½ Added by Eugene McCrann

    Bong's sensibilities are more favorable to the warped as Memories was the bleakest film since forever, and the best parts of BDNB are the ones radiating untraceable menace. For example, when Sung-jae Lee is in the boiler room listening to that story about Boiler Kim, it has little to do with anything, but Bong's style allows for that moment to stick out as it was strangely unnerving. When the film is concentrating on light, human drama, though, it's kind of cute and frothy, but insubstantial.

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  • infi

    ★★★★ Watched by infi 12 Jan, 2014

    Canis noir, Bong's first worthy effort. I like the way this guy thinks: all those narrative threads hanging loosely in the air, all those little stories that live in the literal and imaginative basements of the world. Cruelly empathetic. You also have to hand it to him and the co-writers: in a movie where (canine) life is cheap and humanity's dark side is heavily shown and implied, the only relatable (and thus seemingly stable) character is an overweight woman. She is also surprisingly not a stock comic character, at least not any bit more than anyone else. This is why we can have nice things.

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  • ander

    ★★★½ Watched by ander 20 Feb, 2014

    Mapping of a social system where no one's doing their job or following the rules, where the structure of post-boom urban life chafes against old-world impulse, a world without common sense or decency and barely any intelligence where the guilty are never caught. Naturally some of the smartest people are the most vindictive and relish watching the less fortunate squirm under their thumbs, while the stupidest feel the most human. Of course that's pointing to Doona Bae's Hyun-nam, who is at least as comprehensively dumb as any character Chris Farley ever played--and nearly as endearing.

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