Posted in Fantasia 2016, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Fourth Place – review @ Fantasia 2016

Fourth_Place-p02Fourth Place / 4등 / 4Deung (2015)
Director: Jung Ji-woo
Screenplay: Jung Ji-woo, Kim Min-ah
Cast: Park Hae-jun, Yoo Jae-sang, Lee Hang-na, Jung Ga-ram, Choi Moo-sung

Next screening on July 23.

This is a drama centered around a talented young swimmer, Joon-ho (Yoo Jae-sang), and an abusive coach, Gwang-soo (Park Hae-jun), who was a former Olympic swimmer. Joon-ho likes swimming but always finishes 4th place which frustrates his mother (Lee Hang-na) to her wits end. She wants Joon-ho to win medals so he can get into college on a swimming scholarship and she resorts to hiring coach Gwang-soo. Initially, she does not know that his training method involves hitting Joon-ho but she easily accepts it. But when Joon-ho’s father (Choi Moo-sung) finds out, he is not pleased at all.

The movie actually starts in black and white and is focused on a young Gwang-soo, the best swimmer on Korea’s Olympic team whose cockiness and blatant skipping of practices predictably results in trouble with his coaches. When the story skips ahead to him as an adult, the movie changes to color. Later on in the movie there is a stylistic sequence of underwater swimming where Joon-ho swims to the surface only to re-enter the water depths. There are also sequences where the camera appears to give a first person view. Cinematography is quite varied for a type of film where you wouldn’t expect it to be.

The acting is very good. Although some characters like Joon-ho’s mother lack a bit of depth. The two main characters form the core of the story and are engaging. I find the ending comes a bit too easily considering that one of Joon-ho’s issues is that he lacks the will to push himself to win. However, there is a beauty to the ending. For those looking for a realistic drama, this one fits the bill but it may be a bit boring for some.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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