From the New York Asian Film Festival: Our Review of ‘The Boys Who Cried Wolf’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, NYAFF 2016 by - July 06, 2016

Finding a great film is like finding someone who becomes a friend because they bring up the same references that interest each other. All The Boys Who Cried Wolf has to do is put characters in a room and recite lines from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in Korean to get me engrossed. Then the actor rehearsing to playing John Proctor, Wan-ju (Park Jong-hwan), gets subbed out for another actor. This movie, as subtle as its ambitions are, can go anywhere, but it settles with one intriguing trajectory. Wan-ju, enraged be being replaced, quits theatre school and joins an agency where he can get hired as someone’s boyfriend or wing man. One of these jobs is pretending to have witnessed a crime, which is what Elsa Lanchester (Bride of Frankenstein) used to do. But she’s never been paid to pretend to witness a murder, which is something he’ll have to live with and with dire consequences.

The Boys Who Cried Wolf is directed by Kim Jin-hwang, an alumni of the Korean Academy of Film Arts, which is where Bong Joon-ho also went. He won major awards for this, his dissertation film, and this kind of recognition is well deserved because he’s infusing a Chekovian sense of dread here. The choice in having a subtle soundtrack adds to the film’s slow burn. It’s bone chilling, giving the film an aura of unsettling disquiet. He also gives Wan-ju bags under his eyes and making him walk the hilly city streets, a world weary man noticing off-kilter moments around him that will lead to worse predicaments. A director doesn’t need an ornate aesthetic if he has a great actor to express what he wants on the screen.

The Boys Who Cried Wolf will be screening on July 9 as a part of the NYAFF.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.

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