shady Russian oligarch patron named his prospective time machine “Trotsky” in
the belief history would have turned out radically better if he had bested
Stalin in their power struggle. They
should have called “Ice-Pick,” considering the mayhem it will cause Woo-seok’s
research team. They will struggle to
cheat fate in Kim Hyun-seok’s 11 A.M. (trailer here), which opens this
Thanksgiving Thursday in Los Angeles.
knows Woo-seok’s obsession with time travel stems from the untimely death of
his wife, regardless of what Hawking says about it. Likewise, many suspect his protégé Young-eun
hopes to meet her late theoretical physicist father in the future. His chief deputy
Ji-wan is more skeptical. Nonetheless, their
wheelchair-bound benefactor ponied up the funds for their undersea facility for
his own personal reasons. Unfortunately,
the financial spigot will be cut-off unless Woo-seok produces results
fast. Against Ji-wan’s advice, he and
Young-eun embark on a journey to tomorrow, at 11:00 a.m.
good news is Trotsky works. The bad news
is they discover the lab has been (or will be) destroyed by a series of
explosions. As they investigate,
Woo-seok is attacked by a mysterious assailant.
Whisked back to the previous (current) day without Young-eun, Woo-seok
and his crew must determine the source of the impending disaster, as the clock
time travel films go, 11 AM’s
internal logic holds together fairly well, explaining its big head-scratching
twists in due time. It also has a patina of credibility in the way it acknowledges
Hawking’s event horizon. Yet, despite
the sci-fi MacGuffin, it is human nature rather than science that poses the gravest
danger in Park Su-jin’s screenplay.
Korean film fans will be surprised to discover Kim Hyun-seok, previously a
specialist in jaunty rom-com’s, like Cyrano Agency, had this in him. He nicely
balances the more macabre Final Departure-Then
There Were None elements with the cerebral scientific speculation. Production designer Kim Minio’s team also creates
a credible sci-fi environment, before it all gets blown to smithereens.
cast goes to piece rather effectively as well.
As Woo-seok, Jung Jae-young is wound wickedly tight, while still exhibiting
the intellectual facilities of a man of science. Likewise Kim Ok-bin makes the most of Young-eun’s
big revelation scenes, the likes of which actors only get in genre films.
Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes is still probably the gold standard of contemporary time
travel movies, but 11 A.M. is a smart
and grabby addition to the sub-genre canon.
Sort of a SF chamber drama, but with first rate production values, 11 A.M. is recommended pretty
enthusiastically for time travel fans when it opens this Thanksgiving (11/28)
in Los Angeles at the CGV Cinemas.
Labels: Korean Cinema, Sci Fi shows, Time Travel Films