As critics, we often forget the time, effort, and sheer force of will needed to actually turn a film from a concept into a reality. The fact is, even with behind the scenes documentaries, most people miss all the hard work and headaches that go into the production. While film producers and directors make it a point to note how tricky it is to make a complete, let alone good, film, but it often falls on deaf ears. It doesn’t matter the process of making it if the end result isn’t good, right? Right?
Let’s take a look at Let Me Out.
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.
Let Me Out is about Mu-Young, a senior film student who is better at being a critic than a director since he is quick to pick apart others’ movies but has yet to produce his own. After receiving funds from a more successful director to see what he can do, Mu-Young tries to create a zombie drama, the titular Let Me Out, only to run into temperamental actors, awful product placement to keep the movie afloat, and struggling with his own fears of failure and abandonment. More so than a film focused on plot, it’s about the emotional and mental hardship of making a movie for the first time.
What I like the most about this film is that it really digs into the big issues surrounding any creative endeavor — the fear of failing, the trouble getting started at all, everything failing apart at all the wrong times. Mu-Young’s journey isn’t just for film makers, it’s for anyone whose ever tried to create any piece of art. It talks about the lows of falling short of every expectation and the highs of getting in a good day’s work. At the end, it also starts to blur the lines between film cliches and reality, with the confession of love, everyone coming back together, the big motivational speech at the end, even the ending is a twist (sort of).
The writing is as funny as it is endearing, with good visual humor than translates well from Korean. The over the top wacky characters were well established. The cinematography and editing are also particularly skillful in my opinion. Watching it in Blu Ray is worth it if you have a high definition TV but I think the slightly less shiny version on the DVD works better if only because it mirrors the more low-quality visuals of the film being made in the movie itself, making it somehow more meta and awesome. There are times thought when the dialogue or action fall into the typical cliches, which don’t stand out too much but it feels over done because of it.
I will say that because the movie has to get through the entire rigorous process of making a movie, the pacing is a little rushed at times, sacrificing the much needed character development for some of the side characters. I would have liked to see more from Mu-Young’s sponsor-happy producer and best friend Yong-woon and love interest (which is honestly not something I picked up on at all) Ah-Young, but I can understand why they needed to be benched for the sake of the plot. This does, however, feel like Mu-Young is the only character we should be concerned with, when anyone whose ever made a movie (or seen a behind-the-scenes look at one) knows it takes a team to bring a movie to life, not just one director.
The DVD extras are pretty standard, with a making-of the film that parodies the one shown in the film itself, and a commentary from the directors Jae Soh and Chang Lae Kim and the producer, which are fine if you’re into that. There’s also a music video for a random song I am almost sure is not on the soundtrack and whose video has nothing to do with the film, so its placement is actually a mystery to me, and not one I particularly enjoyed.
Overall, Let Me Out is a movie that succeeds because it knows exactly how to tug at your heartstrings in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling like it was cheesy or manipulative. It has a strong tone, good visuals, and most importantly for any piece of media on the subject f artist creation, it has sincerity. Like the movie within the movie, it’s not perfect, but it is a well-produce and successful attempt at a good movie, and for that it deserves some praise — the rest are really just nitpick afterthoughts.
– Sincere and genuine in tone.
– Good cinematography.
– Funny and well written screenplay.
– Some side characters could have been more developed.
– Pacing was a bit rushed.