Save the Green Planet

Rated NR 2005

A bold, stylistic entry in the new wave of Korean filmmaking, this feature directorial debut by Jang Jun-hwan should heartily appeal to viewers who have already embraced the likes of Kim Ki-duk and Chan-wook Park. Nutjob meth-head Byung-gu believes an alien invasion to be imminent, so he takes it upon himself to kidnap and torture the wealthy CEO he believes to be the aliens' representative on Earth. It turns out that Byung-gu may have more mundane motivations than all that, but the plot changes course many times before the truth comes out. Mostly playing like Misery with a sci-fi twist (and more explicit sadism, à la Oldboy), Save the Green Planet has a Hitchcockian sense of suspense -- most of the characters are at least partially reprehensible, but director Jang manages to get our pulses racing nonetheless when we know that hidden jeopardy awaits them. Points also for the animated titles and intertitles, clever editing, and that punk-rock Korean version of "Over the Rainbow."

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