The Island has a premise that cleverly blends the apocalypse-paranoia themes common recently with a narrative that filters “Lord of the Flies” through an office hierarchy. It is an entertaining modern parable about a group of flawed individuals who could easily stand in as representatives for the variety of people existing in society together today. Each have their roles in civilized society, but once the office workers think that the world has been destroyed by an apocalyptic event, it alters their inherent civility.
I almost feel bad for modern South Korean filmmakers. This generation is following one of the most innovative and prolific in the nation’s entire cinematic history, and many of the latest endeavors simply pale in comparison. The Swindlers is a perfect example of how South Korean cinema has learned from the successes of
while also retaining very distinct national themes (revenge narratives are
common across multiple genres). There is no difference between the way that
Chang-Won Jang adopts the Ocean’s 11/Now You See Me/The Italian Job formula for Korean audiences and how Chan-Wook Park
did the same with 90s thrillers (specifically Fincher films, The Game and Se7en) for his iconic ‘Vengeance Trilogy’ (Oldboy being the most influential in the West), other than the
familiarity with this structure and the quality of the films imitated. The
reason I feel bad for Jang is the same that I felt bad for every Tarantino-hack
in the late 90s, but it isn’t enough to make The Swindlers a more memorable film. Hollywood
Buster Keaton’s most remembered and technically accomplished feature films is, without a doubt, The General (featured in Volume 1 of the Buster Keaton Collection). If we are talking about innovation within the medium, however, few films have contributed quite so much as the accomplished Sherlock Jr., which is featured in Volume 2 alongside The Navigator, which displays Keaton’s endless creativity with slapstick and comedic timing. Sherlock Jr. is not only a great early slapstick film, it is one of the first films to really expand on the potential discovered in Georges Méliès’ ‘magic show’ shorts.