Hong-jin Na – Goksung AKA The Wailing (2016)

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Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing is a work of thriller maximal-ism, a rare case of more actually being more rather than less. In the spirit of other South Korean films like Memories of Murder, The Host, I Saw the Devil, and Park Chan-wook’s early work, among others, The Wailing thrives on genre crosspollination and tonal hyperbole, particularly a destabilizing contrast of broad comedy with ultraviolent portentousness. In American cinema, such a mix often results in a single tone dominating the enterprise, telegraphing to the audience how to feel. By contrast, prominent South Korean thrillers abound in ambiguous tones in which the comedy and the violence are accorded equal prominence, yielding an exhilarating sense of possibility and chaos. Continue reading