The Cat Funeral (2015) Korean Movie Review: Where should Cat Ghosts go?


The Cat Funeral (2015) Review:


Want to watch an ex-couples wonder around a boring and desolate country side holding an urn filled with ta cat’s ashes for about 2 hours? Well about an hour is flashbacks of their rather ordinary life together?

Here is The Cat Funeral (2015)



#ParkSeYoung #KangIn


Introduction

Sitting in a café alone.
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

Among the movies that came out during the bloodbath of January, “The Cat Funeral” (2015) was one of those really indie movies that even had a hard time getting a limited release in Korea. I was lucky that I saw this movie last month.

Well may not have been exactly lucky…

Since this month has been somewhat slow in terms of Korean movie releases, I decided to write about this movie.

Have not heard about The Cat Funeral?

Flash back!
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

Well you’re not alone. I think barely anyone heard about this movie. To be frank, the only reason for anyone actually hearing about this movie other than movie buffs like myself that pretend to be movie critics is the lead actors. The Female lead, Park Se-Young, is an up and coming Korean drama actress while the male lead, Kangin, is a Kpop star from the Korean boy band Super Junior.

I do not know what Super Junior is since I do not follow Kpop!

From its first few minutes, the flickering images on screen scream out “student” film.  “The Cat Funeral” (2015) feels like a film student film that somehow got a “budget” and was able to hire actors other than people the director knew who would work for free.

Awkward chatting with the ex!
From The Cat Funeral (2015)


The Plot
The structure of “The Cat Funeral” (2015) reminds me of Korean movies such as “Introduction to Architecture” (2012). Both movies essentially have two plot lines, the pasts and present, being shown in parallel but the present is used to frame the flashback past and provide a resolution to the past. Thus, most of the meat of the movie is the past plot line.

In the present of “The Cat Funeral” (2015), you have the still young ex-couple meeting for the first time after a breakup more than a year or two ago. I cannot remember the specific amount of time between the two plot lines.

Sitting on a bus together in silence!
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

The guy had been raising the cat they had together after the break up and it had just died. Among the awkwardness, Park Se-Young’s character decides to go with Kangin’s character to spray the cat’s ashes somewhere.

Well, that somewhere is a place they once went when they were a couple for no apparent reason. It has no meaning to the cat!

I mean literally no reason!
It has no meaning to the cat!

This journey takes about 2 days or so because of arbitrary reasons and we are shown flashbacks of their entire time as a couple along the way.

Sounds interesting?
We are meant to understand the couple.




Student film?
The problem with this movie is it is not “interesting”. It could have been interesting but none of the elements of the movie are good enough to bring the interesting stuff up to the light. This is why I say it feels like a student film.

Visiting the house they shared together!
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

This movie is not a comedy or even that much of a melodrama. Rather, it feels like a serious “attempt” to examine a relationship. I can say that, while this subject matter is nothing new, there is always more to say about it. “Introduction to Architecture” (2012) showed us that it could be done when handled with the appropriate amount of talent and care.

The Cat Funeral” (2015) does not have that, sadly!

I would describe the movie as being somber and ponderous. Partially, this is intentional on the part of the director. However, in part, it is because of lack of experience behind the camera.

It doesn’t help in front of the camera also.

Visually, there is not much interesting happening that one could hang on too. The color tone of the movie is very de-saturated and thus makes the movie feel rather dull. In fact, the movie feels like a series of night scene. However, in fact, there are not that many scenes at night in it.

Walking with an urn filled with ashes!
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

In addition, the fact that a lot of the scenes have characters just talking in front of a static camera does not help with garnering interest. You just know that the director did not have enough experience and budget to actually shoot the movie in a more of a dynamic manner. Thus, he just pointed the camera in one direction and had the actors play out their lines as if this was a theater play for a lot of the movie.

And many of the scenes did need a few more takes to them before moving on.

Pacing wise, the movie moves at a glacial pace. You feel like you are trapped with the characters for the 2 days in real time. It is less dull when the actors actually talk to each other. However, this movie is rather sparse with dialogue and the actual content of the dialogue, when they do talk, is not very interesting or revealing.

Sitting in a bus together and not talking with an urn filled with ashes!
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

There is a lot of walking, sitting, and not actually talking scenes. In does not help that, for the most time, you basically have only the two lead actors on screen. While the movie has some supporting characters, there are basically extended cameos.



Screenplay
A huge issue with the screen play is that the present story lines is too long without any thing happening. The present portion of “The Cat Funeral” (2015) is essentially a “road movie” that figuratively has nowhere to go. It feels like just a story telling excuse the movie ended up using as filler.

Flash back!
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

In comparison, the present portion of “Introduction to Architecture” (2012) actually has an important story function. However, there is not a “road movie” vibe to that movie. In recent years, the best movie that mixed a “road movie” like present and past flashbacks is “Wild” (2014) with Reese Witherspoon. The past was back story while the present was a slow process of overcoming the past.

Getting lost somewhere that is nowhere with an urn filled with ashes!
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

In “The Cat Funeral” (2015), there is only the past “back story” and none of the overcoming part. What is somewhat of a relief is that the past “back story” is relatively more interesting than the present. But that is not saying much.

While the story being told about the couple’s past relationship is nothing unordinary, it is rather frank. Both characters had personal issues when they met and those issues ultimately made them broke up.

Frankness does go a long way!




The Acting!
However, what makes this movie worth watching is the actors. Well… I only mean the actress, Park Se-Young, the Female lead.

Kangin’s performance is very uneven. When the movie has not much for him to do he is bad especially in the first half of the movie. Later, he gets to the level of barely adequate sometimes. In comparison, Park Se-Young is very consistent in her acting.

Spraying the cat’s ashes in a place that the cat had never been and does not seem cat “ghost” friendly.
From The Cat Funeral (2015)

While I cannot say that Park Se-Young is great at acting, she has this energy to her that actually radiates on screen. In many ways, since the whole movie is somber, she is the only light in the movie. She helps you slog through the rest of the movie with that light.

Actually, her performance here reminded me of a less rough on the edges version of “Brittany Murphy” when she was at the peak of her career. She is now deceased.

RIP!

 Otherwise, there is barely anyone in the movie other than a few cameos.

It is that kind of movie

Just walk away from each other.
From The Cat Funeral (2015)


Conclusion
The Cat Funeral” (2015) is a movie that was only successful at doing one thing. It announced to the Korean movie world that Park Se-Young is on the rise and we should expect good things from her. It would be better if  “The Cat Funeral” (2015) was actually a good movie. However, you cannot get everything you ask for in life.  

Oh the cat was not bad too but I have seen better cat acting on Youtube!

I give “The Cat Funeral” (2015) a D for effort!


Score: D or 2.25/10





Other Reviews you may enjoy!






Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island (2015) [Link]





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3 comments:

  1. the webtoon is much better than the actual movie lol

    ReplyDelete
  2. the webtoon is much better than the actual movie lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. It has the ™Before Sunset" movie vibes to it. I actually enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete