July 19, 2008

Time: Love Me. Love My Face

It took me awhile to come around to Kim Ki-duk. He can be pretentiously affected (Real Fiction) or ridiculously farfetched (Samaritan Girl). But Time, like The Isle and 3-Iron, reillustrates that at his best he's an almost-mystical storyteller. The inverted romance concerns a man and his girlfriend (Park Ji-yeon) who gets plastic surgery to find out if he loves her. Or to keep him interested. Or because she hates herself. Motives are inscrutable: Kim is no Pavlovian! Anyway, just when this nutty girl is about to reveal that the new her (Seong Hyeon-a) is the same person as the old her, the boyfriend (Ha Jung-woo) announces he's still in love with his ex, not knowing his new paramor is one and the same. She goes ballistic. He finds out then freaks out himself. In fact, he freaks out so much that he goes to the same plastic surgeon for help. What the confused loverboy looks like after that operation we never learn. What we do see is she's going crazy trying to find out. Is that guy at the scuplture park him? Or the friendly patron at the neighboring table at Room & Rumors coffeeshop? Or is he, please God no, the fatal victim in a car accident? Whatever! She returns to the beauty clinic for another new face to help her forget or to let her escape or because she's addicted to going under the knife. Hippocrates, where art thou?

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