March 28, 2010

My Father: A Man Without a Country

Warning! Warning! My Father should be watched with a box full of tissues. An issue-driven picture about a Korean-American soldier (Daniel Henney) who leaves the American suburbs -- perhaps because his adoptive father (Richard Riehle) resembles Colonel Sanders -- and joins the U.S. Army as a way to track down his Korean birth father (Choi Jong-ryeol), Hwang Dong-hyeuk's pleasantly mushy biopic is overly packed with weepy moments that find you saying "Awww" out loud even if you're alone in your living room. Is it a work of art? More like a movie of the week. And that makes sense given lead actor Henney's CV is more TV than anything else. Yet while the culture clash between whites and Asians (in both countries) is key to My Father, Henney's character's approach to his problems is stereotypically American. He's a big-hearted, pig-headed savior as he deals with bigotry, fights the death penalty, and expands his idea of what family or dad means. And, since My Father is based on a true life story, you get to see some of the same moments play out again, only this time featuring the film's inspiration in documentary footage that plays right before the credits. That addition helps make a film that could've felt sappy feel kind of cool.

No comments:

Post a Comment