Sunday, January 18, 2009

Venus and Mars (Korea 2007)

With a name referring to just how different men and women are, Venus and Mars (싸움), shows us the extremes people are willing to go to when relationships don't work out as planned. The world of marriage and divorce has never looked so ugly.

Jin-ha (Kam Tae-hee), and Sang-min (Seol Keyong-gu), have officially called it quits after two years of being married. It's safe to assume that things didn't work out between them, and in their case, it really didn't work out, because these two simply cannot stand each other. Sang-min is working at a university teaching entomology, and Jin-ha is working as a glassblower, trying to start her own line of glassware products with her best friend Hyang-mi (Jeon Soo-kyeong). With the distaste these two have for one another, there would be no other reason for them to come into contact, except for the fact that Sang-min has obsessive compulsive disorder. After the seperation, they decided that it would be best to just split everything 50-50, and Jin-ha ended up with the pendulum for the clock that Sang-min bought while on vacation in Europe. Sang-min's OCD about his missing pendulum drives him insane to the point where he meets with Jin-ha in order to get it back. However, their reunion doesn't go so well and soon the two are screaming at each other, with Jing-ha refusing to give him back the pendulum because she knows it means so much to him. Sang-min can't stand Jin-ha for her stubbornness, and the fact that she won't give his pendulum back, and Jin-ha hates Sang-min because he can never admit he's at fault and refuses to apologize for anything. Clearly, there is a lot of pent up resentment here. When Jin-ha get's her big break marketing her products on the Korean Home Shopping Network, Sang-min ruins the opportunity by faking his involvement in a car accident. These two go back and forth with their screaming matches, and attempts at hurting one another, with Jin-ha even going so far as to run Sang-min's car into an oncoming train. So fed up with the behavior she's exuding, Jin-ha finally agrees to give Sang-min his pendulum back. Before they meet, so she can give it to him, the two are speaking on the phone when Jin-ha yells out that her workplace is on fire. Sang-min assumes that she's pulling a fast one on him, as he did to her, but her situation is all too real. When these two meet again, face-to-face, they finally have a chance to let out of their emotions, but is it enough to mend the history, and the relationship they once shared together?

Venus and Mars shows the ugliness of people coping with a divorce. It obviously isn't a pleasant thing to experience, and it can make even the best of people show their worst side. The general theme of the movie is pondering the question, "how can two people that love each other so much, end up hating each other to the point where they'd do anything to hurt them?". I can understand having feelings of resentment towards the person you split with, but Kim Tae-hee and Seol Kyeong-gu are absolutely insane in this movie. These two are so psychotic, they make marriage look like the last thing you would want to do simply because of the possibility of divorce. All that aside, there are some entertaining parts in the film, mostly when these two are trying to kill each. The problem is, that's pretty much all these two do the entire time. It's basically an hour and a half of screaming, fighting, and not much more. There is a lot of emotion on display, and both actors definitely deliver it, but it all gets really old after awhile.

I can't say I recommend Venus and Mars, mostly because there isn't a lot that happens. I'm not saying you have to have a busy story to keep things entertaining, but you have to have something. There simply isn't enough meat on these bones to keep it satisfying. Fine performances, but nothing more. (Lee)

Grade: D


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