Review 376: Train to Busan (2016)
Out of nowhere I started hearing about Train to Busan on podcasts and some fellow movie lovers. I was able to rent it from Fandango Now and I’m very glad I did. The film is very suspenseful with rich characters and scary zombies. I was very attached to the characters in the film and that made the zombies all the more horrific. Train to Busan earned the Must See rating.
Seok Woo (Sang-ho Yeon) is an overworked father in Seoul, South Korea. He has been guilted into taking his daughter, Soo-an (Soo-an Kim), to her mother’s house in Busan for Soo-an’s birthday. They board the train expected an uneventful day, but a zombie-virus breaks out and the world implodes.
Right away, Seok Woo seems like a character that is going to have multiple layers. He’s clearly not a bad person, but he’s very focused on working to provide for his daughter. He is struggling to be there for her, but he clearly wants her in his life. Soo-an is missing her mother and seems frustrated with the lack of attention her father is giving. Their relationship is strained, but it’s clear that they love each other. It was easy to care for them both and want them to figure out how to make it work.
Sang-ho Yeon does a great job of introducing the secondary characters to give us plenty of information and yet find empathy for them. Of those characters, Sang Hwa (Dong-seok Ma) and his pregnant wife, Sung Gyeong (Yu-mi Jeong), were my favorite. When things get bad, Sang Hwa is the man. He quickly became my favorite character and was determined to help as many as able. His initial impression of Seok is one that the audience may have early on. Yet, they learn to work together and find mutual respect. I really enjoyed them on the screen.
Such a great film all the way around
The cinematography in the film is also pretty impressive. The scenes are gorgeous at times and the camera work adds so much to the characters. There is a shot early in the film while on their way to the train station. It shows Soo-an catch an ash flake and pulls back through the driver’s side window to show Seok. It’s impressive technically, but stunning visually. It really expressed the growing concern within Seok.
If you have a way to rent this I recommend it. If you don’t like zombie movies than this may not work for you. I’ve been a zombie fan for some times and this is one of my favorites now. It’s a different take on the zombie genre in some ways, but the design of them are extremely creepy. The movie is almost two-hours, but manages to find ways to up the stakes that are believable. It’s an intense ride and well worth the time.