Margo is the sort of post-apocalyptic
android Johnny Cash would appreciate. His name is not an accident. It is a
conscious way of differentiating his protective new role from his destructive
past. Margo’s retrofit makes him more than Yeon-hee’s guardian. He is also her
external pacemaker. Unfortunately, the world is not inclined to appreciate their
bond, but things might be better on the other side of the border. However,
safely crossing it will be a real trick in Kim Geon’s pedal-to-the-metal sf
short film, Keep Going (trailer here), which screens
during the 2016 Stuff MX Film Festival, south of the border.
Humanity was nearly annihilated during the
last planet-wide war, thanks to the use of battle robots like Margo. Of course,
it really wasn’t their fault. Nonetheless, after the armistice, a large luddite
contention decided to merely switch their armed hostilities towards all things
robotic. The large anti-robot contingent dug in near the border will not care
about Margo’s life-sustaining function. If he and Yeon-hee hope to continue
their trek, they will have to fight their way through.
Somehow, Kim packs an awful lot of genre
filmmaking into a mere twenty minutes. As an action film, Keep Going is as good or better than any feature released this
year. In addition to the spectacular centerpiece shootout, Kim economically creates
a convincingly detailed near future world. Margo’s robotic features are
particularly spot-on, combining hard steel with worn edges, while conveying the
sense of something like a conscious imprinted on his circuit board.
Choi Bae-young portrays Yeon-hee with
tremendous sensitivity and vulnerability, even while she is kicking butt.
Likewise, even though Lee Tae-young is buried beneath the Margo helmet, he is
still giving a real performance through his body language and action chops.
Any way you break it down, Keep Going represents massively impressive indie genre filmmaking. It
is easy to see how the short film could
be expanded into a full epic feature. In fact, there is a graphic novella
prequel posted on the film’s Facebook page that explains how Margo became
Yeon-hee’s protector. However, there is indeed dramatic logic to the place
where Kim choses to conclude the short. Regardless, anyone who enjoys films
with whizzing projectile action and human-robotic relationships will flip for Keep Going. Very highly recommended, it screens
this Thursday (10/20) as part of the Stuff MX Film Fest.
Labels: Korean Cinema, Post-Apocalpse movies, Sci-Fi films, Short Films, Stuff MX '16