February 6, 2010

The Curse of February 29th: The Horrific Toll of Bad Acting

Working in a tollbooth sounds like a nightmare to me. The car exhaust, the cramped quarters, the endless monotony would drive anyone over the edge. And it appears to have done just that to poor Ji-yeon (Park Eun-hye), a lowly, low-paid worker stuck with the late shift and suffering from insomnia. She blames her aural hallucinations and bad driving on a bloody ticket that a driver handed her right before (when else?) February 29th; Detective Park (Im Ho) and his partner think she's criminally insane with problems rooted in her childhood. My vote goes with the cops. Anyone who pops pills and babbles about a woman who dresses up like her (in cheap outfits ordered off the internet) sounds suspect. You can sympathize with Ji-yeon for acting out. She's got a dead-end job, a blandly furnished apartment, and a serious case of chapped lips. But while you feel for Ji-yeong, you'll more likely relate to the reporter who visits her in the mental ward then ends up doodling a shark on his notepad. She's crazy, not fascinating. If I was going to get meta, I'd say director Jung Jong-hun has asked his lead actress to play it like a toll booth worker acting like an actor instead of vice versa. That is the true Curse of February 29th.

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