Sarang, not exactly a unique or creative title for a movie but a worthwhile melodrama story nonetheless. Somehow, by the end of this movie, I felt that it managed to give the viewers equal amounts of action, romance and drama. Usually these types of movies end up being overpowered by one of the three as a whole. For example, A Dirty Carnival had major gangster/love elements too, but was more so a gangster flick. Sarang probably achieved this equal dynamic because of the writer/director Kwak Kyung-Taek (“Chingoo“), which also explains the one-word title which goes on to provide meaning.
Like Chingoo, 2007’s Sarang is a tragic story of ill-fated turns in life. Another direct comparison to make and watch out for would be how both movies deal with relationships (friendship), loyalty, trust and care. At the core of Sarang is the promise In-Ho (Joo Jin-Mo) makes to Mi-ju (Si-hyeon Park) ; to always protect her. At times Jin Mo’s acting seemed kind of flat and one dimensional — mostly when talking. The action and fighting scenes were good. On the other hand Si-heyon held the same innocent cute act throughout.
Like a large portion of Korean romance-drama movies, Sarang starts off in prologue format to establish the setting and introduce the characters and how they may or may not be connected. The movie goes from teenage/ high-school drama, love and fighting to adulthood in steady fashion and pace. There is a small jump in years in the middle which really splits the movie in two quite nicely. The second half starts off anti-climatic to the end of the first half and then progresses to its own climax.
Overall this movie was good. It definitely reminded me of A Bittersweet Life for its climactic style. Also, the themes are all quite parallel. Both movies do justice in depicting a man’s integrity and both are epic love stories in their own rights. With that being said, any guy would enjoy either movie for the kick-ass gangster/fighting scenes, and any girl would enjoy either movie for the tragic-love stories that they are.
aparoo says 5/5