Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy!

Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange

Inception

Title
 Lucid Dream (2017) 
Also known as
Lusideau Deulim
Genre
  Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Written by
  Kim Joon-sung
Directed by
  Kim Joon-sung
Starring
Country of Origin
South Korea
Running time
 101 minutes 

oh! … background

Lucid dreaming is a real thing. In 1913, Dutch psychiatrist and writer and has been argued since the early 1960s by a psychiatrist and those studying Frederik (Willem) van Eeden coined the term ‘lucid dream’ in an article he wrote entitled “A Study of Dreams”. Van Eden’s use of the word ‘lucid’ to denote ‘having insight’, a reference to the perceptual experience occurring during dreams. A lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming and may be able to exert some degree of control over their dream, the characters in the dream, the narrative occurring and the environment of the dream. This dream lucidity can range from a faint recognition of the fact to a momentous broadening of perspective. Lucid dreams usually occur while a person is in the middle of a normal dream and suddenly realises that they are dreaming. This is called a dream-initiated lucid dream.  The dreams tend to be more bizarre and emotional than regular dreams. Most importantly, you may at least have some ability to control your character in the dream and the surrounding environment.

oh! … brief

An investigative journalist’s son (Dae-ho) is abducted one day at a fairground.  The detectives investigating the abduction don’t find the boy or the culprits behind the crime. No ransom demand is made and no body is ever found. Dae-ho, with no other recourse, takes drastic action with the help of his psychiatrist friend, So-hyun and long-time friend, detective Bang-seop.

So-hyun is researching the field of lucid dreaming and Dae-ho convinces her to allow him to try and find clues through his dreams of his son’s abduction. He feeds these clues to Detective Bang-seop.

But everything is not as it seems.

oh! … talks film

Over my life, I’ve had lucid dreams, so any time a lucid dream film or documentary comes along, I find myself drawn to watching it. In fact, in the past, I watched the Lucid Dream kdrana. I’ll have to revisit that following this film and write a review.

Kim Joon-sung, writer and director for this production, used his own experience in lucid dreaming to pen this screenplay. I appreciated the ingenuity to the premise for the story, an unresolved abduction and a desperate father trying by every mean, to locate clues to unravel the mystery behind the abduction. Using lucid dreaming the way he did, Kim Joon-sung was able to take an ordinary and often-repeated crime drama to the next level. The storyline is simple, but I found that there was not enough depiction in the film of what lucid dreaming is, how it is practised, and the potential outcomes. What Kim Joon-sung did was take a basic idea and move it into the realms of science fiction, which was a bit of a stretch in my opinion, specifically for anyone who knows lucid dreaming, has studied it, or, has taught themselves the techniques used to elevate lucid dreaming experiences. In this regard, the screenplay became a little more fantastical than I was prepared for, but in true South Korean style, it added the melodramatic elements that this industry is known for.

Kim Joon-sung’s character development was not as strong as I anticipated. I found most of the characters to be shallow, with little thought put into developing their backstories, personality traits and idiosyncrasies. Each character was an opportunity to develop depth and meaning, but this wasn’t brought to fruition, didn’t come full circle for me. It wasn’t detracting from the overall story, but I wanted and craved for more.

Making his directorial debut with this film, I found I could be a little more forgiving for the flaws in directing the characters’ performances and the shooting of scenes. Saved, in part, by Park Hyun-chul’s cinematography which was more than satisfactory, I will look for future productions directed by him, only because I want to see if he can and will grow in the field.

Park Hyun-chul used his cameras and the choreography between cameramen and actors to tie the scenes together in tandem with the screenplay, dialogue, and set design. His use of focus, colour, framing and varied shots allowed the audience to become immersed in the story.

The CGI and graphical components of some of the more sci-fi scenes were good, surprisingly good.

The cast for this production included one of my favoured actors from The Flower in Prison kdrama and the most adorable male child actor I’ve seen in South Korea’s film and drama industry.

Dae-ho was played by Go Soo. I heard he was reluctant to play the part initially, doubting his own acting skills (are you kidding me?) and worried about the script. Well, he needn’t have been so worried. I love his low-key acting style. He did it again in this role. Even as his character is an angry and frustrated man, Go Soo’s interpretation was excellent. He inhabited this role and became the angry, frustrated, and desperate man reluctant to give up his search and determined, if nothing else, to find out why his son was abducted and who was responsible. Go Soo gave the audience an aching performance, filled with emotion and angst. He used facial expressions and body language to draw the audience into his plight. I hear he even gained weight to authenticate the pre-abduction and post-abduction physicality for his character. Now that is dedication! The writing, as I’ve explained already, around characters was not strong and this led to one-dimensional perception (at least on my part). I would have liked to see more of Dae-ho’s backstory and better character development, but this is not the actor’s fault, that lies with the writer and producer.

So-hyun, Dae-ho’s friend who is a psychiatrist was played by Kang Hye-jung. I wasn’t entirely convinced by this performance, but this is because I wasn’t entirely convinced about the role and the research this character was involved in. It was just too far-fetched for the storyline. However, Kang Hye-jung did the best she could with what she was given in the form of the screenplay and direction from Kim Joon-sung. I must admit I found her performance bland. Again, this is because of the one-dimensional aspects and poor character development.

Bang-seop, a friend of Dae-ho and detective investigating the abduction was played by Sol Kyung-gu. He gave a solid performance and I was convinced that he was a good guy until he mentioned his daughter and then I knew where the story was headed. Sol Kyung-guès character was perhaps the most developed, but apart from dropping the plot goal three-quarters of the way into the film, there really is no developing his back story other than delivery of a few lines of a sob story. It’s sad that Kim Joon-sung didn’t pay careful attention to developing the ties to the characters and their personalities, stories, etc. He relied too heavily on the lucid dreaming fad to gloss over his flaws in his screenplay. Unfortunately, the fad didn’t do what he intended and character’s like detective Bang-seop, while one of the better-written character’s, is still flawed.

‘This Man’ – a character who has an ability to not only lucid dream himself, he also has the talent to infiltrate the lucid dreams of others. See why I say far-fetched sci-fi? Played by Park Yoo-chun, This Man is perhaps the most fascinating of the film’s characters. Park Yoo-chun did a great job with hi8s performance.

oh! … sidekicks

I don’t typically pay too much attention to very young child actors, whether they’re in film or drama unless they capture my attention. Kim Kang-hoon did just that! Playing Choi Min-woo, Dae-ho’s abducted son, Kim Kang-hoon was just incredible. A fierce little actor with the most adorable facial features. I’m looking forward to seeing him develop his talents in the future.

oh! … that’s a wrap

This film is good for chasing away the boredom of a raining afternoon spent indoors. Its story is one that could have been amazing, but because of little attention paid to characters and their development, the story is just okay. That’s hard on the leading actor, Go Soo, who was excited about this production. He did his best and was supported by a team of actors and actresses who also did their best. They delivered, but, not a film that will receive rave reviews.

I’ll watch it again if I feel the urge, however, this is one film I’m not going to recommend. Even if you’re a fan of the genres attached to this production, even if you’re a Go Soo fan, this one is not the best. It had so much potential with the story, the cinematography, Go Soo as a lead, but falls just short of being amazing because of the one-dimensional writing and directing.

oh! … tidbits

Inspired by personal experiences with lucid dreaming, writer and director Kim Joon-sung hoped to mirror the success of the 2010 science fiction film Inception with his own production.

To physically portray the state of his character before and after the abduction of the character’s son, Go Soo gained 10 kgs for the shooting of the pre-abduction scenes and later lost more than 18 kg for the post-abduction scene shooting.

Park Yoo-chun was able to put to rest the nasty sexual assault scandals that have plagued him for the past year having been found innocent of all allegations made against him. He will be marrying in the fall of 2017 now that his name has been cleared.

oh! … soundtrack

Looking for this to be released online. Will update!

oh! … gallery

oh! … trailers

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