When I choose a movie, there’s always one ideal scenario on my mind. I completely pick it at random without watching any trailers or read any reviews and it turns out that is completely amazing. I get into it. The audience gets into it. Successful evening is achieved. This almost never happens. But when it does, odds are sky high that it will happen in Fantasia.
Director Park Hoon-jung has a movie for you. THE WITCH: PART 1 – THE SUBVERSION starts a little on uneven ground. Eventually you’ll realize this is one of those stories in which a secret shady agency has been tampering with the DNA of young children to create… Well, you can fill in the blanks. Yes, this is another one of those “we only use a fraction of our brains” theory (completely false, all of our brains are active, please stop using this trope) where one gifted kid has run away. Forget the theory and follow the performance.
Young Ja-joon (newcomer Kim Da-mi, recipient of the best actress award by the Cheval Noir jury at the screening!) is the innocent daughter secretly adopted by a loving senior couple. She lives a regular and normal life in a small town, although occasionally suffers from painful migraines. Pressured by her best friend, she joins a talent competition where besides singing, she also shows a rare gift that is not revealed to us, the audience.
As a matter of fact, as the bad guys close in you will realize that movie is holding out a few things from you. It’s doing that on purpose, and with great effect. A lot of it depends on the acting abilities of Kim Da-Mi who is brilliant as Ja-joon. As a result, when the action finally starts, it does not stop. If you think the movie has taken it easy on you, wait until the second half starts rolling along.
Highly recommended with a few reservations. I’m not going to give you any movie spoilers (unlike the Q&A after the movie, where some people required explanations on the ending) but you have to be ready for a ton of action and violence coming your way. The movie is obviously the first of a series, which means we don’t get but a partial resolution and a bit of a cliffhanger. That being said, it can be watched as a standalone film.
That will do for now.