Confession: overhyped movies turns me off. Which means I’m a bit reluctant to watch Finding Dory, The Conjuring 2, and Now You See Me 2 – especially because I have an inherent animosity against long queue and crowds. So, in the spirit of going against the masses, me and my friend watched this movie instead. For Suho. Because we’re that shallow. But hey, it’ll be fun to watch a movie about four good looking friends who went on a trip together, right?
Sang-Woo (Suho or Kim Jun-Myeon) is enlisting on the Marine Corps. So as a farewell, he went to Pohang with his best friends Yong-bi (Ji Soo), Ji-Gong (Ryu Jun-Yeol), and Doo-Man (Kim Hee-Chan). It’s one last night out to have fun and enjoy themselves before they have to go back to their responsibilities.
Unfortunately, nothing went according to plan.
My whole reaction to this movie could be summarized in one sentence: “I came here for a good time and I feel so attacked right now”. In my defense, the posters and synopsis made this seems like your run of the mill coming of age movie. I expected they would have to sober up and face the world of being a grown up. And sure I knew it’s not going to be all rainbow and sunshine, they’d have to experience a series of problematic events. But I did not expected it to be this damn bleak.
Choi Jung-Yeol penned and directed this despondent story about four adolescent who got cornered in a bad situation. Because they decided to do the right thing in a world who don’t appreciate such chivalry. Right from the get go, you knew the odds are not on their favor. Yet despite the sinking feeling in your gut, you wish for a miracle. Only to swallow the bitter pill when they became the victim of a fucked up system and selfish adults in a dog-eat-dog world. Seriously. With each unfolding scene, Jung-Yeol eloquently showed why all human being is a selfish bastard. From the violent and prejudiced police officers who just want to make it all go away, adults who would sacrifice innocence for their own gain, overbearing parents who coerced their sons to do as they say, and even friends who betray each other in times of need. If Jung-Yeol’s intention is to destroy whatever faith in humanity and justice system I had left, well, he succeed with flying colors.
The remarkable thing is, Jung-Yeol succeed in making his main characters relatable and detestable at the same time. Because you can understand why they made those choices and you admit that there probably is no other way. Can you really say, with utter conviction, that you wouldn’t do the same if you were in their position? Although, admittedly, this message would be more profound if the movie spared more time for character building. They’re not two dimensional, and I do get the gist of everyone’s character. But aside from Yong-Bi, they are all underdeveloped. Even if it’s expected, Doo-Man and Ji-Gong’s confessions when they’re facing their respective parents felt a little out of the left field. Sang-Woo got the shortest stick, portrayed as nothing more than an unlucky goody two shoes. The archetypal good guy. On the other hand, Yong-Bi shown the widest range of emotions, had the most coherent back story and the best family. In short, he’s the one I’m rooting for.
Naturally, this means most of my praises goes to Ji Soo. He fucking nailed both the chaotic outburst and subtle expressions, conveying his torment just with his eyes. I mean, all the time he looks so lost and yet you can still feel how much of a mess his train of thoughts is… it’s impossible for my heart to not goes to him. Both Ryu Jun-Yeol and Kim Hee-Chan were also commendable for showing two opposite sides of their respective characters, effectively got me loathing them for it. While Kim Jun-Myeon (known to most as EXO’s leader Suho a.k.a the fandom bait for this movie) was surprisingly decent. Not amazing, but decent – and even good for an idol-turned-actor standard. Although I personally prefer the other idol-actor in this movie, Kim Dong-Wan, who stole the scene thanks to his strong chemisty with Ji Soo. Then again, he is a member of my favorite idol group…. Anyway, the true scene stealer of this movie was Lee Joo-Sil, Sang-Woo’s grandmother. That scene where she break down opened my dam of tears and basically I just want to hug her and protect her from the unfairness of this world. Whereas Moon Hee-Kyung’s portrayal of Ji-Gong’s spiteful mother really bring out the urge to throw her to the wolves.
One Way Trip, unlike the cheerful facade it puts on, is a subtle social commentary about the unfairness of the world and the inherent wrack in every human being. It’s a coming of age movie alright, a reminder of how sometimes it is the shameful and selfish choices you made that marked your transition into adulthood. With remarkably solid performances from all of the casts and an emotional story to boot, this movie left a discerning impression and a poignant aftertaste in my mouth. That’s how good it is.
Director: Choi Jung-Yeol. Writer: Choi Jung-Yeol. Released on: 15 June 2016 (Indonesia). Casts: Ji Soo, Ryu Jun-Yeol, Kim Hee-Chan, Suho / Kim Jun-Myeon, Kim Dong-Wan.