Sunday, August 03, 2014

Bi-mong/Dream (2008)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

There’s this one Calvin and Hobbes I remember where Calvin is getting ready for school.  In the last panel, he wakes up and laments that his dreams are getting way too literal.  Dream is sort of like that, except that Jin is literally dreaming someone else’s life.  He comes to realize this when he dreams about being in a car accident at an intersection that he apparently recognizes.

He goes to the intersection to find that the accident really happened and that a woman, Ran, was driving.  The police initially dismiss him, but he knows details about the accident, like the kind of car behind Ran’s car.   The police arrest Ran, but she denies everything, claiming that she was asleep at the time.  (Damage to her car and a traffic photo don’t help her credibility.)

Jin and Ran come to realize that if both are asleep at the same time, she’ll begin to sleepwalk and he’ll dream about it.  Neither one has much control over it, but they find that if one stays awake, the other can sleep without incident.  They try taking turns staying awake without much luck.  This is because they both try staying up late before one goes to sleep.  (I wasn’t clear on why one didn’t go to sleep immediately.  You‘d think they’d just get into different sleep cycles.)

When both are asleep, the dreaming/sleepwalking get worse.  Ran is going to her ex’s place and making out with him.  He doesn’t mind, but she does and she wants it to stop.  Jin, meanwhile, pines for his ex.  (In his dreams, his ex seems to fill in for hers.)   Ran and Jin turn out to be polar opposites who seem to be growing closer.

This is not a movie for children.  There are several scenes that involve gore, pain and suffering.  In an attempt to stay awake, Jin tries inflicting pain on himself.  There are also other things that I can’t discuss without giving away the ending.  However, many adults will probably find some scenes disturbing.

I came across this movie while looking for titles that Netflix streams.  It looked interesting enough.  It wasn’t until later that I found out that this is directed and written by Ki-duk Kim, who also wrote and directed 3-Iron.  (I told my brother about this movie, as he also liked 3-Iron.)  It’s different from many movies that I’ve seen.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen unintentional dream control as a plot device and it works pretty well.

I’d recommend renting it.  (If you’re looking for it, you might find it under the Korean title, Bi-mong)  I don’t know that it’s going to be for everyone.  Most of the gory scenes don’t come until later in the movie.  Most adults should be able to handle it, though.  We’re not talking excessive.  I can also see a lot of people being turned off by the fact that it’s a foreign film.  (I found out through IMDb that Jin was talking in Japanese, which I didn’t pick up on.)  I’m sure there are a lot of aspects of this movie that I missed.  It’s one of those movies that I’ll probably come back to years later and see differently.

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