April 15, 2013

Vanishing Twin: Sisterly Rivalry Continues Even After Death

Before this movie, I'd never heard the term "vanishing twin." A poetical pairing of words, this medical anomaly (also known as "fetal resorption") is what happens when a fetus dies in the womb and then is absorbed by the surviving twin. It's also the only fact I was able to glean from writer-director Yun Tae-yeong puzzling movie of the same name. Because Vanishing Twin, the movie, has strictly less-than-absorbing realities. Is what we're seeing the life of dissatisfied novelist Yu-jin (Ji Su-won), her dream, her awakened imagination, or a re-enacted scene from her novel? Nobody knows. Nobody cares. As to the protagonist, she's unhappy with her husband, her suicidal sister who inspires jealous feelings even from the grave, her brother-in-law (Kim Myeong-su) who may have killed said sister, her perhaps imagined lover (Koo Pil-woo) and her novel, which likely is drawing on her various discontents as she nears her book's completion. For the record, she seems to have an okay relationship with her daughter (Choi Ji-eun).

One excerpt from her book, which we can safely assume is not reality, is presented as a bit of animation. In this retelling of a supposedly Native American folk tale, a lazy dog's penis detaches itself from its owner and goes for a walk only to get stuck on a thorn bush. When the dog awakens ready to pee but with his penis gone, he searches for it, finds it and reattaches it. All is not well, however, since his crotch itches terribly. So he prays to the goddess of the desert and... Oh, who cares. The story's a metaphor for sex. And the sex in this movie is really bad. It's weird to see a woman comically faking an orgasm over and over and a man making love to her over and over with complete indifference. Acting schools don't teach lovemaking, which means you have to learn it on your own. Considering the inordinate amount of time spent describing the lower lip as a sexual reveal, screenwriters don't learn much about lovemaking either. Everyone involved with this project needs to get laid.

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