my grade


My Teacher, Mr. Kim

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Cinemasie's opinions

2 reviews: 2.75/5

your opinions

9 reviews: 3.61/5

MLF 2.25
Neil 3.25 Pretty good but not up to the standard of many recent Korean movies.
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Pretty good but not up to the standard of many recent Korean movies.

When I put on Teacher Kim Bong-du, I wasn't sure what to expect. The cover (on my version at least) brought back recurring nightmares of Kindergarten Cop with Arnie and that was enough for me to put off watching it for a while. Thankfully its nothing like that movie. The comedy is much more subtle and the movie is at times moving and lovely but for some reason it wasn't as fullfilling as I expected at the halfway point.

The story itself was interesting Seung-won Cha (star of the very good Kick the Moon) plays a selfish almost dis-interested Teacher in a large school who thinks nothing of taking bribes from parents and giving the best of his teaching abilities to those who line his pockets at the expense of the rest. Once caught he is shipped off to a rural school with only a handfull of classmates. His plan is to get them to move to a larger school in Seoul but the charm of rural life may just become too much for the heartless teacher...

If your expecting a big hollywood style payoff from this film then your sorely mistaking the complete opposite way Korean cinema often works. Its slow and methodical and doesnt go for the big sentimental finish, but, whereas for films like the wonderful Christmas In August this is one of the charms, in Teacher, for one of the very few times in the movies, where everything seems to be a template of something else, it's a negative point. If anything because of it's lack of a really feel good ending its too original compared to other movies of this kind, although this may not be much of a criticism considering. That isn't to say there isn't a lot to enjoy in this film. Some of the scenes with Kim Bong-du and the children are full of comedy and very heartwarming, especially the scene where they pay tribute to his father.

Overall though I expected the comedy to be... well more comedic. Which might have excused the lukewarm conclusion, but as it turns out im not entirely sure wether it was supposed to be a comedy or drama.

Of course everyone has their own perspective on films and what I found to be lacking in this movie you might well find there somewhere. Recommended but not on my must watch list. 3.25 is not a bad score by any means.

26 April 2004
by Neil

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