The big budget glossy film fans will be happy when 'The Tower' screens at KOFFIA 2013. Getting into the Christmas in July spirit of things it's a family drama with light hearted comedic moments that belie the coming disaster.
Good for people new to Korean cinema. 'The Tower' is the type of film that is accessible but not easily seen in an Australian cinemaplex. The film drew huge audiences with its opening day box office only second to 'The Thieves' (also being shown at the festival).
'The Tower' could perhaps be called The Towers as it's set in a luxurious twin towered super skyscraper building. The twin towered design of the setting will raise some eyebrows for those who think it's too soon for a setting for such a commercial film, but with the absence of a terrorist angle the similarities are very superficial. The twin towered nature of the building - and the bridge between them - does take on a necessary role as the action ensures.
Mayhem hits the tower when a helicopter crashes into the building. The problem is exacerbated as the building has questionable sprinkler systems. A hint of a the not-so-scrupulous mutual back scratching and short cutting involved in getting the building done. This also raises its head when trying to organise rescue teams to the building.
This film won't trouble you with any unpredictable plotting or deep characterisation, but will provide you with lots of fun. This does feel like an old Hollywood movie from the 1970s. This is a Hallyuwood film through and through.
With FX consummate and state of the art, it's spectacularly shot with slow motion liberally used to amplify the impact and effect. The film really is a visual delight and will be especially good to see on a big screen with an audience of people reacting with you.
A cross between 'Towering Inferno' and 'Backdraft' with a modern Korean twist. 'The Tower' is melodramatic with emotionally charged music to make sure you get the message. There's lots of stern chiseled jaws doing their level best to work out a solution to save the day.
Disaster movies usually have large casts for you to follow and for a few to tragically die off. Directed by Ji-hoon Kim who made 'May 18', the film provides edge of the seat action, thrills and suspense as you worry about the fate and urge on the characters you like and wish a darker fate for the ones you don't. There's lots of arms reaching out in vain, tears welling and scared frantic looks in the film and probably in the audience as well.
The more epic in size a disaster movie is the better and this one is huge. It is a massive production. There is no doubt that Ji-hoon Kim has the vision and ability to make a glossy big budget film. And it would be remiss of me to state that 'The Tower' provides a succinct lesson on why you don't take the lift in an emergency.
With a heart aching big finale, 'The Tower' will sure to be a hit with film watches at the festival just as it has been in it's native South Korea. This will be the most fun you will have at the festival.
By Michael Collins
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