A Masterpiece in My Life

"One thing's for sure, Park Jung-Hun once again proves his versatility."

- Mighty Peking Man

A Masterpice in My Life (2000)

Director: Shim Gwang-Jin

Producer: Kang Woo-Suk

Cast: Park Jung-Hun, Song Yun-Ah, Seo Jin-Ho, Jo Yeong-Gu, Kim Yeo-Rang, Hwang In-Seong, Baek Yun-Sik, Park Chung-Seon, Min Gyeong-Jin, Park Cheol-Min, Jo Yu-Na, Shin Hyeon-Jun, Lee Ji-Hyeon

Running Time: 90 min.

Plot: See review below.

Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com


MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW:  In-Gi (Park Jung-Hun of "Nowhere to Hide") is an optimistic man who dreams of becoming an accomplished filmmaker and, one day, making an original movie that will touch the hearts of audiences everywhere. However, he has a problem that may deflect his dreams: He's cornered himself into the world of sleazy adult films and with a handful of titles like "Nowhere To Fuck" (one of the few inside jokes referencing Park Jung-Hun's real-life hit movie) under his belt, it may be hard for him to make that leap into the mainstream side of the movie business. Unfortunately, directing adult films was something In-Gi was never proud of. He only started making them for a quick buck to help pay off family debts and now, he's known for it.

In addition to his scarred reputation for making films for perverts, he also has a disability to construct a complete screenplay. Since he wants his next movie to be "his" masterpiece, he feels that the plot, ideas, and characters should all come from his own mind. Although he has a basic premise, In-Gi finds it impossible to start building the foundation of his idea. It's when In-Gi meets up with an old colleague, who also works in the film industry, that he begins to see the light of day. Aware of his writer's block, In-Gi's friend introduces him to Yoo-kyung (Song Yun-Ah), an attractive woman who's known for her excellent creative plot writing.

In-Gi and Yoo-kyung start to have script meetings regularly. Although the initial scenarios are coming from In-Gi, Yoo-kyung guides him in the right direction. When he can't find the correct word, she becomes his thesaurus. When he falls into a slump, she relieves him in offering different alternatives to make a scene work. Overall, she brings out the visionary director in In-Gi. Slowly, Yoo-kyung becomes more and more enthralled with In-Gi's uplifting personality, despite his known career shadows. Her thoughts and ideas for his script start to bare a resemblance toward her own feelings for In-Gi. From here on out, the irony thickens and In-Gi discovers the real meaning of his future masterpiece.

What attracted me to this film was definitely the fresh plot about the adult director trying to move on to better and bigger things in his career. Topping off the catchy plot with Park Jung-Hun - one of my favorite Korean actors - "A Masterpiece in My Life" was bound to become something I'd be amazed with. After watching the product, I was disappointed. Although it had it's moments - both comical and dramatic, carried a nice art-house touch, and showcased a great cast giving it their all; the film never really hit the spot. Filled with too much forgettable dialogue between many characters, it had the tendency to keep me unfocused and uninterested. At times, I was literally bored.

The instances where the film did work was with the interaction between the two main characters; not when they were talking about the "masterpiece", but when they did every trivial thing around it. In other words, the film worked where it wasn't supposed to work, which left very little for the desired plot. The imaginary scenes which depicted the working-film were a nice touch, but would have meant more if the film's initial plot was stronger.

One thing's for sure, Park Jung-Hun once again proves his versatility. From serial killer ("Say Yes") to hard-boiled cop ("Nowhere To Hide") to a happy-go-lucky film director, he's another fine example of a great actor. Unless you're a Park Jung-Hun fan like me, you'll appreciate his performance with "A Masterpiece in My Life". If you're not, then you may want to skip it.