This is ‘the’ Korean hit of the year. The Host is and has everything: a real family tragedy that moves in a way rarely seen in action films. It has the best Korean actors of course, spectacular CGI and masterfully portrayed action - certainly when we know its budget. And for the fans there is plenty of surreptitious geopolitical and social commentary.
The film not only went down well back home in Korea. Bong Joon-Ho’s third feature (after Barking Dogs Never Bite and Memories of Murder) is triumphing worldwide. The Host will soon have its American remake, although one may wonder what will happen to the critical tone about irresponsible American imperialistic actions. For it is because of the Americans that on a beautiful summer day a monster is lurking under the bridge over the River Han in Seoul that will soon sow death and destruction among the families picnicking. When the monster returns to the depths of the river, it drags 10-year-old Hyeon-Seol along with it to its hiding place in the concrete underworld of this huge city. Her family (father, grandfather, uncle and an aunt who is an archery champion) go looking for her, hampered by an incompetent government hanging on American apron strings that has cordoned off the area because the monster is supposedly carrying a horrific virus. (GT)