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[HanCinema's Film Review] "Golden Slumber"

2018/02/24 | Permalink

Life has never been more exciting, or more terrifying for Kim Geon-woo (Gang Dong-won). This deliveryman's routine as an ordinary, and even model citizen is upturned by a conspiracy using him as its puppet, fueling a journey of survival, nostalgia and strengthening bonds. Noh Dong-seok's "Golden Slumber" is a chase thriller, but there is a surprising amount of heart in it.

Those who may be drawn by the appeal of popular star Gang Dong-won will find that the film has a lot more to offer, as "Golden Slumber" uses Geon-woo as a root to form branching paths out of. The hero appears naive and overly trusting, making his confusion and fear when the world repeatedly backstabs him palpable. When a presidential candidate is assassinated, someone like him is the perfect person to take the fall. Geon-woo must survive and evolve.

While the film includes a lot of action revolving around Geon-woo's race for survival, it is the people that are invested in his case who give a refreshing twist to this story, as well as the emotional core of it. Everything starts with Moo-yeol (Yoon Kye-sang); a friend from the past who makes the choice that changes the hero's life. We learn that the two were in school together, along with three other friends, two of whom were in their musical band.

The way in which these friends react to Geon-woo's plight is where "Golden Slumber" finds its uniqueness, and where the title based on the nostalgic Beatles song comes in. "Golden Slumber" is cynical, but it balances that with the occasional kindness, ultimately carrying the message that basic human decency, as well as strong bonds make a difference. That being said, it can seem a bit too feel-good and perhaps overly idealistic by the end.

Like every action thriller, "Golden Slumber" has some convenience writing. The hero's enemies are omnipotent and omnipresent, except for when the story needs them to fail and somehow lack backup plans and staff. The hero and his allies succeed in situations where it feels like sheer luck is the deciding factor. As the film tries to be an action thriller while developing nostalgic friendships, it does not manage to make either aspect exceptional.

That being said, "Golden Slumber" is a great suspense piece with a solid emotional element. The film has good production value and a thrilling presentation, while the capable powerhouse cast carries it gracefully. Considering the different aspects it juggles, it delivers its messages about the nature of friendship, altruism and trust adequately. Whether you are looking for a sleek thriller or a bit of an emotional kick, "Golden Slumber" has you covered.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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