November 28, 2008

The Uninvited: Shellshocked Duo Leave Few Shocks

For much of Lee Soo-youn's The Uninvited, the two main characters walk around in a daze. For him (Park Shin-yang), the causes include a blow to the head, being overworked, repressed childhood memories, premarital jitters, and possibly a drinking problem. For her (Jun Ji-hyun), the stupor is caused by narcolepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, a contentious divorce, and perhaps too much medication. (Later you learn, she's also a closet shaman!) The pair first meet -- where else? -- in a psychiatric office: She's there as a client; he's come on business as an interior designer. A good ninety minutes into the movie, their sympathetic diagnoses finally get to meld into one type of craziness. Until then, The Uninvited is just a lot of blank stares of incomprehension, made dramatic by a couple of girl ghosts materializing periodically. The film's last half hour is vastly more spirited than the rest but when the charming Yu Seon, as the lead's no-nonsense girlfriend, leaves the protagonist in exasperation, you share her sentiments if not her reasons. As thrillers that use amnesia go, this one is completely forgettable.

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