February 28, 2010

Barking Dogs Never Bite: In the Beginning, There Was a Genius

Yun-ju (Lee Sung-jae) leads a cheerless life. His domineering, pregnant wife (Kim Ho-jeong) has him cracking walnuts on a whim and his teaching career looks bound for nowhere if he doesn't raise $10,000 fast as a bribe for his professorship. Save the pity party for someone else though because Yun-ju's way of dealing with the chip on his shoulder is to kill the yapping lapdogs in his apartment building. Once you've seen him off a beribboned terrier and a toy doberman, you're kind of glad that he's got it so bad. And anyway, someone else is in greater need of your sympathy. That's Hyeon-nam (Bae Dun-na), the management company's spacey bookkeeper who's on a mission to find the dog-killer and a purpose in life (with a gal pal played by Go Su-hee). Because this is a Bong Joon-ho film, the narrative ends up being much more than those two intertwining tales. There are also subplots involving an indiscriminate janitor who tells good ghost stories, a crazy old lady who dries radishes on the roof, and a homeless man whose bad luck ends up seeming to work in his favor. When you consider that Barking Dogs Never Bite is Bong's feature film debut, you realize that he hasn't got better with each successive movie. He's always been great. He's just been great in different ways.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you about Bong -- this is one of my very favorite films ever.