Holy sh*t! Only in Korea could and author as talented as Choe In-ho take his “most horrible buddy road trip that ends in psychic disaster” book “Deep Blue Night” my highly positive review you can read here and which you can purchase for somewhere between the price of three turnips in Russia and a tuppence with a monkey-pie in Madagascar, right here on Amazon, and then turn it into (as screenwriter) and even larger and more compelling psychological disaster.
I mean… both are dark, but the movie turns the misogynist dark up to about 11, and presents a quite noir story in such a sunny and well lit way that it confuses expectation.
Two men on a trip from San Jose to LA (Cali, for all you stay-at-homes) becomes a trip across the west with one man, a temporary (in the worst sense of the word) buddy, several women, and enough casual racism to set Suey Park into a hashtag frenzy, except it’s aimed primarily at African Americans and in one case a Jew. That racism,I should note, is largely in the service of the plot and character explication, so I’m tempted to give it a partial pass, also considering the era.
Choe died last year. I really wish I could have met him.ㅠㅠ
Some random notes about the movie versus the book:
The movie begins with a woman unrinating behind a bush and the sounds of Deep Purple’s Highway Star. Then they pull over and start making out, as throughout the movie one of narrator’s skills is as a lover. He robs her and apparently kills her, so a standard Korean love story^^.
He gets set up in LA for a contract marriage in Vegas. Initially, after the Vegas marriage he tries to hit on the bride, and she, in a scene of multiple foreshadowing, puts a gun to his head and says that sex is not part of the contract.
Immigration gets involved, feelings change, and as the movie twists to its end it only shares the attitude of its novelistic predecessor (and in fact, it could be argued is much more polite to the US as a destination and far less polite to the Koreans who were trying to sneak in during the early years).
LOL.. and in my favorite kind of one-liner, when Mr. Baek chooses his English name he chooses “Gregory”, which, if you say out loud, you’d better understand^^
Great book and movie.. utterly different…
Barry over at SeouldABC should definitely put this one on his playlist