HIFF Review: ‘Intruders’

Oct. 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

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REVIEW BY JASON S. YADAO / jyadao@staradvertiser.com

Sometimes getting away from the hectic pace of everyday life can prove to be more trouble than it’s worth.


Spotlight on Korea

Hawaii Premiere

Screens at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, and 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18


In “Intruders,” the latest movie from director Young-seuk Noh (“Daytime Drinking”), that certainly ends up being the case for Sang-jin (Suk-ho Jun), a screenwriter from Seoul who goes to a rural bed and breakfast owned by his producer’s family so he can concentrate on finishing up his latest project.

The B&B is closed for the winter — the perfect place for a solitary mind to gather thoughts and churn out something awesome.

Or so he thinks.

Any chance of a rejuvenating getaway is dashed right away as particularly chatty, overly helpful ex-con Hak-soo (Tae-kyung Oh) promptly buddies up to him and talks his ear off on the bus ride to the nearby village. Sang-jin manages to shake him — for a little while, anyway — but soon a group of skiers drops by the B&B looking for a cheap place to stay, turning him into an inn manager by proxy.

Then a pair of hunters show up on the property. Then a chance meeting at a convenience store reunites him with Hak-soo. You just have to smile and shake your head at just how ridiculously wrong things go for him.

Yet while this could have ended up being a lighthearted farce, Noh chooses to take a completely different direction.

The fun stops right around the middle of the film, when a body turns up and Sang-jin suddenly becomes framed as the prime suspect in the murder. The tonal shift takes a bit of getting used to, but the realization does settle in eventually that yes, fun time is over and things are going to get serious for our hero. VERY serious.

Noh loads up and subsequently unravels most of his plot twists in the second half of the movie. It certainly feels a bit overwhelming in spots. But it’s the final twist, which hinges on a subtle detail that it’s likely many viewers will glaze over and dismiss as background filler, that ultimately gives this film its potent narrative punch.

In the end, Noh presents some powerful commentary on the state of today’s world as well, and it makes the audience think: Just who ARE the intruders of “Intruders”?

The real answer to that may not be as it first seems.
Click here for more coverage of the 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival.

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