May 28, 2011

Running 7 Dogs: Everyone's Chasing Everyone But Nobody's Getting Anywhere

In an intro to an anthology of his avant garde plays, Richard Foreman writes how he most enjoys the beginnings of movies before you can figure out what's going on. Once the plot becomes apparent, the film becomes less engaging. At least, to him. In that case, he'd probably love Running 7 Dogs because the first half of the movie bounces so quickly from scene to scene and introduces so many characters before any one of them is truly established that you really aren't sure who's who and what's what for a long, long time. Even after you've deduced the basics, Running 7 Dog's logic still challenges passive viewing because it so often strains credibility.

What do you do when someone has sex with your girlfriend? You hire someone to chainsaw his leg off then buy her a ranch. How do you respond if someone asks to see your police ID? You hit him in the head with a cue ball. Where do you go to meet the love of your life? The restroom of a gas station, not just once but twice. Admittedly, this movie doesn't improve after you've learned the personal histories and current motivations of its various characters but at least it does make clear that writer-director Kim Joo-man does have a story to tell. This isn't experimental filmmaking; it's just convoluted.

Indebted to Pulp Fiction with its extreme violence and central flashback, Kim's movie has to do with a cabbie (Jeong So-yeong) who accidentally has a hit-and-run accident that has little effect on his blase attitude toward life but suddenly puts him in possession of hundreds and hundreds of American hundred dollar bills. As he struggles to figure out a way to exchange the money for Korean currency, he leaves the cash with his girlfriend (Lee Jee-hyeon), a pretty tough convenience store clerk who doesn't take flack from her customers, her co-workers or any of the criminals she meets at the checkout counter. Working day after day under fluorescent lights hasn't dimmed her sense of self-righteousness. She might not be a master of tae kwon do but she's a fighter, a woman who's not afraid to bite your ear off if you try to rough her up. No wonder her boyfriend likes her so much. She's resourceful, loyal, forward-thinking, and looks good in a polyester uniform. That's not easy. At the end of Running 7 Dogs, you hope she takes all that money and buys herself a smashing new wardrobe. She deserves it!

No comments:

Post a Comment