My Dear Enemy

My Dear Enemy ★★★★★

This film tho. It is surely very simple and uneventful, but do we need anything dramatic in a very very fine day?

In terms of genre, My Dear Enemy lies in the middle of road movie, romance, drama and even comedy (in my opinion). It can be all or none of them at the same time. This hybrid nature of the story and the unconventional narrative are exactly what drive the story, revealing an invisible thin string between the two characters Hee-soo and Byung-woon that stays right on the borderline between love and non-love. I like how Lee Yoon-ki calmly goes through every single meeting, secretly and delicately opening up each knot of the story. It progresses not by a plot twist, but change in moods of Byung-woon and Hee-soo. With that, we don’t fall into any common romantic/melodramatic story, but instead are able to widely open our eyes and enjoy the beauty of the backdrop of the whole story, the urban of Seoul.

Lee’s cinematography is just so phenomenal. His yellow colour is so gorgeous through his glamorous lens. Moreover, he can use different shots, from close-ups to long shots from different angles while maintaining his trademark stillness at ease. All his long takes with a surveilling camera, especially those from the back, are calmly beautiful. 

The director’s use of frame and editing are also worth-mentioning; how he selectively places the two characters - either in separate frames with multiple cuts back-and-forth between them or in the same frame and keep the focus at the centre with his static camera - is quite brilliant. He also excels at alternating between the jazzy score and total silence to create mood changes. It also creates an overall soft tone of the film.

Lastly, both Ha Jung-woo and Jeon Do-yeon delivered very subtle performances. Their characters look very opposite next to each other, but actually complement to one another really well. Both of them did a great job bringing so much depth to their characters, not just as a couple of an “over-chilling” man and a frustrated woman. They manage to subtly show the characters’ hidden feelings that cannot be (and weren’t) spoken through their eyes and smile. I’m especially fond of Ha Jung-woo’s brilliant acting in this film. He already proved himself to be a solid actor who’s capable of playing a variety of roles, and always able to pull it off.

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