A scene from R-POINT, directed by Kong Su-chang for Cinema Service.

R-Point (2004, Kong Su-chang)

Kong has definitely seen Apocalypse Now–to the point he pays homage–and Full Metal Jacket–to the point he doesn’t really pay homage, but kind of just lifts moments and shots.

I guess a horror movie set during the Vietnam War’s a good idea. I mean, there’s a lot of history, a lot of possibilities for ghosts–one of the better things about R-Point is its preference to infer, instead of explain, it makes it seem a lot more thoughtful than it turns out to be.

There’s some scary music, but it’s scary in the not-so-scary way. It’s intentionally creepy, with anything possibly creepy broadcast minutes before it comes to pass.

The ending is sort of like the music in that regard. It’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen at the beginning of the ten minute end sequence–there’s one “surprise,” but it’s not scary or particularly interesting so I’m not sure why it’s even in the picture–R-Point just moves along towards its inevitable conclusion. Actually, a couple things seemed possible early on, didn’t come to pass, and the film suffered for it. My expectations for its common ghost story elements were better than what Kong came up with.

Kong’s a rather good director, but he slowly loses grasp of his film, clearly narratively, but also filmically. Some of the shots look like terrible DV, it hurts the experience–with the weak script, Kong can’t afford the missteps.

The fine acting all around helps.

1/4

CREDITS

Written and directed by Kong Su-chang; director of photography, Seok Hyeong-jing; edited by Nam Na-yeong; music by Dal Pa-lan; produced by Choi Kang-hyeok; released by Cinema Service.

Starring Kam Woo-seong (Lieutenant Choi Tae-in), Son Byung-ho (Sergeant Jin Chang-rok), Oh Tae-kyung (Sergeant Jang Young-soo), Park Won-sang (Sergeant Cook), Lee Seon-gyun (Sergeant Park), Song Jin-ho (Sergeant Oh), Kim Byeong-cheol (Corporal Joh Byung-hoon), Jeong Kyeong-ho (Corporal Lee Jae-pil), Mun Yeong-dong (Corporal Byun) and Gi Ju-bong (Captain Park).

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