August 15, 2009

Motel Cactus: Room 407 Is for Losers

Even with its jaded attitudes about sex/love, Park Ki-Young's Motel Cactus conveys nothing so much as inexperience. The director's handheld camera strays across reflecting silver balloons, rain splattered windows, and glass walls etched with nude silhouettes as he searches for that one artful shot to relate the inner anguish of the four couples who'll come to couple in Room 407. But all he gets is a succession of tediously pretentious compositions of half-dressed actors performing badly with toilet paper and airborne condoms, all to a second-rate soundtrack of pseudo-Ry-Cooter. Whether the topic is a relationship's deterioration (as it is in the first vignette) or its reconciliation (as it is in the last scene), Park can't seem to get a handle on what he's trying to say so he focuses instead on how it's going to look. Extreme angles. Neon lights. Fish eyed views. Jump cuts. Long static shots of pretty people doing nothing much. They're all there. Really he's a wannabe Lee Myung-se except unlike his idol, he never attains a stunning visual to accompany his insipid dialogue. Complain all you want about Lee, he does have a strong pictorial sense. Park does not. In Motel Cactus, he has four chances to prove otherwise. And fails every time.

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