Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
It’s always a pleasure to meet a work that goes beyond our expectations. Me and Me, in which actor Jung Jin Young made his debut as a director, offers fresh fun with differentiated charm than conventional commercial films.
The story is about a detective, who was investigating a mysterious fire case, faces a shocking situation of everything about him erased, and tries to search his real self. If you just look at the poster, Me and Me is a mystery movie where the main character, embroiled in a suspicious incident, struggles to find the answer. However, it is better to leave out hasty speculation. Director Jung Jin Young doesn’t just list out the obvious.
Even the beginning is somewhat odd. Unlike typical mystery films, which usually offers a tense, dramatic events, Me and Me crosses the boundaries of the genre from the start and breaks down the tears down the preconceptions we had. Comedy, romance, and surreal horror pop out unexpectedly, dropping the audience into a strange world.
The main character Hyung Goo, who we’ve been waiting for, first appears about 20 minutes into the movie. He finds a strange hint in the case of a mysterious fire that happened in a quiet rural village, and starts to fiercely observe the villagers who seem to be hiding secrets. However, after approaching the clue to unlocking the secret of the incident, Hyung Goo faces an unexpected situation. The day after he was forced to attend the party at the hands of the villagers, he woke up from a terrible hangover, and the world he knew disappeared without a trace. Everything in the village remained unchanged, but strangely, they start calling Hyung Goo with a different name.
Me and Me takes the form of a mystery drama and follows Hyung Goo’s chaos as he faces this unfamiliar world. The movie pushes Hyung Goo into a strange parallel universe where he cannot tell what’s real and what’s not, and throws a riddle at the audience. Now, the viewers wonder what happened to Hyung Goo, who is the real Hyung Goo, the old Hyung Goo or present Hyung Goo, and whether he can finally reach the truth.
However, Hyung Goo’s journey doesn’t follow the steps expected by the audience. The more Hyung Goo craves for answers, strangely enough, dreamlike realities pile up in layers, and only solitude and loneliness deepens in the reversed life. His existence seems infinitely fragile as the world that Hyung Goo knew and the world that others see collide. Is there anything sadder than failing to define oneself? The movie, which was expected to be a mystery, leads the topic of identity and life.
It’s certainly an unexpected story. Sometimes it’s rough, and occasionally dramatical lines and situations continue, but unpredictable developments strengthen the level of immersion until the end. Despite the crossing of various genres and different rhythms of a story full of questions, the director’s ability is also stable. It is a debut film that asks interesting questions without any discomfort.
Jo Jin Woong, who director Jung Jin Young had in mind even before he started writing the script, did his part so that his role does not overlap with his previous detective roles. Starting with detective Hyung Goo who passionately investigates the case, to teacher Hyung Goo who shows weak side as he faces a crisis, he naturally portrays the complicated character. If Jo Jin Woong takes the center with his flawless performance, actors who have not been spotted often in the big screen add to the movie’s unique atmosphere.
Me and Me starts with a question, but does not offer a solution. By presenting the chaotic process of searching the truth, the movie makes the audience look back on Hyung Goo’s life and memories and come up with their own answers. An unfamiliar yet peculiar afterglow lingers bittersweetly.
Verdict: A debut film that goes beyond the conventional commercial films (6.5/10)