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[HanCinema's Film Review] "Let Me Out"

2013/08/04 | Permalink

Moo-Young (played by Kwon Hyun-sang) is given the opportunity to make his very own film, and chooses the subject of zombies. He discovers that filmmaking is quite a bit more complex and stressful than he had originally assumed. Many general filming adventures and misadventures are had as actors, crew, and extras struggle against the generic chaos that conspires to wholly engulf their film.

"Let Me Out" is a cute movie. There's all the silly antics implied by the above description, and a decent supply of jokes about bad acting, runaway props, and drama within drama on the set. The zombies are put to good use, and plenty of gags are made emphasizing the trouble of correctly shooting a scene that involves extras meandering around with just the correct amount of sloth and energy necessary to convey the image of the walking dead. The makeup's pretty decent, too, and it's interesting to see the background behind various semi-realistic zombie special effects.

And that's all there really is to this movie. That the movie would involve these kinds of antics is fairly obvious from any basic description of it. However, there's not really anything in the way of a real hook or storyline to demand audience involvement. The characters want to make a movie. Obstacles come up. They overcome the obstacles one way or another and keep shooting. Rinse and repeat.

Characterization falls by the wayside as well. The only person in this movie with particularly clear motivation is Moo-Young- and his reasonably interesting introduction becomes largely irrelevant as time passes. His somewhat arrogant personality really doesn't go far enough for any of the various movie disaster scenes to really have much resonance. Moo-Young is also much softer-spoken on set than he had been up until that time. Which is understandable- he's nervous about the responsibility, after all. It just doesn't make for a very compelling storyline as it's presented here.

The movie is very dialogue intensive, and the dialogue is decent. Unfortunately, this concept requires visuals to really strike true. My favorite scenes in the movie by a wide margin were the sight gags. If I want to hear people talking about making movies I can get that on any DVD commentary track. What makes the concept film-worthy is that we can actually directly see the on-set drama and frustrations that are too personally sensitive for anyone to discuss in real life. As it is, "Let Me Out" is pretty much just what I thought it would be.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. There's a certain appeal to the concept of "upstart director makes a zombie movie, finds it's much harder than he expected". This movie has been very popular on the film festival circuit, and I would expect to find a large number of people there who consider this concept on its own to be interesting, so long as it's done competently. Outside of this subset of people, though, I really can't see this movie gaining much more in traction. "Let Me Out" is cute and exactly what it seems, and this is both its greatest strength and weakness.

Review by William Schwartz

"Let Me Out" is directed by Kim Chang-rae and features Kwon Hyun-sang and Park Hee-bon.

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