Jeonju 2018 Review: Dreamer (2018)
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (FCCA)
The quest for the next generation of Korean cinema continues with Dreamer. Like Graduation, the theme of this year’s Jeonju seems to be angry outlook of youth and lack of hope and aspirations in the bleak modern society. Dreamer is clearly a juxtaposition, modern South Korea is being depicted as not much better than the lack of “freedom” that the North Korean deflector comes from. Director Cho Sung-bin goes dark and brutal in his portrayal of modern society, young people restored to immigrating overseas to do laundry, drugs and murder seems to be the status quo.
Our protagonist Geun-su is the North Korean trying to find a better life in the South, only to end up in the lower end of life, stealing drugs, getting into fights and following the low-life gangster Ji-hyuk around. Life is difficult for youth and even more for outsiders. The acting is good if raw and natural as it acts to the extra layer of realism of everything going on, however dark and terrible.
All in all, Dreamers is an interesting attempt and even slightly ambitious, however suffers from coherent story telling and ends abruptly without a lingering thought. The two lead actors shows great potential and director Cho proves that despite all the dark and bleakness of modern society and South Korea, the grit, the survival and realism can be portrayed onscreen in the most defining manner.
I rated it 7/10