1.5, Korea


2011 / Huh Jong-ho > A family melodrama wrapped inside another melodrama about society’s inability to cope with mental disabilities sprinkled with some bloated action and uninteresting, stereotypical characters who are part-time criminals but generally okay-to-good people. Actually, one of them is a “bad” guy, though he’s kind enough to numb your legs before he breaks them. Novel, right? But let’s not kid ourselves: Countdown has basically no rhyme or reason to exist, and in the process, wastes a performance by the great Jeon Do-yeon (winner of Best Actress at Cannes in 2007 for Lee Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine) and a stoic but relatively enjoyable Jeong Jae-yeong. This is, in many ways, the worst of Korean cinema: Mediocre, repetitive, unimaginative—the counterpart to Hollywood’s run-of-the-mill blockbusters.