Movies that Move You

Chang-Heon Kiml승인2013.04.02l0호

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The Man from Nowhere
The movie “The Man from Nowhere” a.k.a “Ajeossi” was released in 2010 and sold more than 6 million tickets in South Korea. It is very rare for an R rated movie to have such great success and popularity. The movie has also been commended by many critics. As a result, the leading actor Won-Bin won the best actor awards at both the 2010 Chung-yong and Dae-jong film festivals. What is the reason over 6 million people saw this movie? I’d like to share my opinion about why this movie was such a great success.   The protagonist, Tae-Sik is a former soldier of the Korean Special Forces. Several years before, he lost his pregnant wife and got shot because of someone who tried to kill him. His fellow soldiers barely managed to save his life in the scene, but after the incident, he felt frustration and hid himself from the outside world. He never tries to interact with anyone, and just runs a small pawnshop. As a result, people make rumors up about him that he must be a murderer or a rapist. So-Mi who is the daughter of a hostess is the only window to the world for him. The first factor we have to think about is the relationship between Tae-Sik and So-Mi. So-Mi is poor and has a difficult life. In order to emphasize this point, Tae-Sik runs a pawnshop, so it makes it seem like money is not a major concern compared to So-Mi’s poor situation. This sets-up an obvious juxtaposition between the characters, and lends to Tae-Sik’s motivation to find her at all risks. The second factor is the role of the Jong-Man brothers. The brothers Jong-Suk and Man-Suk play bad guys in this movie. They kidnap people, kill them and sell the organs of the victims. They are not that different from villains in other movies in the beginning, but the most important quality about them that makes Tae-Sik look more heroic is they also target children in their business. All Tae-Sik does in this movie is try to rescue the children from the brothers, so it makes him seem like a much more humanistic hero. If the object of Tae-Sik’s efforts were adult women, I believe, this movie would not have interested people as much as it did. Finally, he kills the brothers and rescues So-Mi. He is not her father or her brother, but just a neighbor who runs a small pawnshop. Certainly, Tae-Sik recalls his dead wife and baby during the whole time he is trying to find So-Mi. After he kills Man-Suk, he put his gun to his own head as if he had intended to do that from the very first. At that moment, he hears So-Mi calling his name and watches her hugging him, and he drops the gun onto the ground. What brings him a new desire to live is So-Mi who stands for hope. In conclusion, the movie shows the audience a man who is looking for hope earnestly. As a result, they sincerely understand Tae-Sik’s pain that makes him do what he does in the movie and how much hope means to him. If there is anyone who hasn’t seen this movie, I would like to tell them they won’t be disappointed if they take the time to see it now.
Chang-Heon Kim  dlgh13@nate.com
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