Mystery drama 'Me and Me' brings novelty yet lacks clarity - Korea Times
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Mystery drama 'Me and Me' brings novelty yet lacks clarity

Actor Cho Jin-woong in a scene from the film
Actor Cho Jin-woong in a scene from the film "Me and Me" / Courtesy of AceMaker Movieworks

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Jung Jin-young made an impressive directorial debut with mystery thriller "Me and Me." The actor-turned-filmmaker proves that his movie is certainly something of a novelty that will likely attract audiences.

Although uneven, the film balances everything from humor and tragedy to mystery to fantasy in the story that traces one man's lonely struggle to get his life back.

The film revolves around a police officer named Hyung-gu (played by Cho Jin-woong) who investigates a mysterious fire that took the lives of a married couple in a small town.

While trying to find out why there was a cage installed in the house and the couple were locked up in the attic, Hyung-gu becomes aware of the townspeople's secret related to their deaths.

One night, the townspeople invite Hyung-gu for a drink. The next day, he wakes up discovering that people refuse to recognize him for who he is ― a police officer and a father of two.

Instead, the townspeople tell Hyung-gu he is a teacher and single. Having fallen into the world of delusions, Hyung-gu tries to wake himself from the nightmare.

Despite Jung's bold intentions, the plot is let down by loose threads and lack of clarity. With too many sub-genres thrown in and too little conveyed, it appears the creator did not think too much about communicating with the audience.

Actor Cho Jin-woong, who plays Hyung-gu in the film
Actor Cho Jin-woong, who plays Hyung-gu in the film "Me and Me," speaks during a press conference for the film held at Lotte Cinema Konkuk University Entrance Branch in Seoul, Tuesday.

Jung admitted that there may be a gap between what audiences expect and what he wants to deliver.

"Rationally, the film doesn't make sense. It must have been difficult for marketers to define Me and Me in one particular genre because it weaves together several different genres," Jung said during a press conference for the film in Seoul, Tuesday. "We have agreed to promote it as a mystery drama, but I personally think it is closest to black comedy."

The actor-turned-director explained that the upcoming film is different from the existing narratives that audiences are familiar with. However, he aims to raise essential questions about life such as "Who am I?" and "Why is there a gap between our self-image and the image others have of us?"

"This film is best when you go into it cold," Jung said. "It doesn't gives the answer or solve the mystery. I want audiences to interpret it on their own."

Against such backdrop, "Me and Me" boasts an attractive cast. Cho, who has a knack for being interesting even in so-so movies and continues to pick varied roles, plays Hyung-gu who is pushed to extremes by tragic circumstances.

Jung said he wanted to cast Cho because of his soft side. "Cho is tall and bulky, but is soft-hearted. I thought his personality matches Hyung-gu's character who has a gentle soul."

Cho said he was puzzled by the script and the finished product, but there is something unique and original about "Me and Me."

"It's the kind of film you want to watch twice because there are some inexplicable scenes that leave you with questions," Cho said.

"Me and Me" will hit local theaters, June 18.

Kwak Yeon-soo


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