Okay, listen. I had dreams to be a consistent human being and write one of these movie reviews every Friday, but apparently I’m not good at those things so here we are after not posting last week with a new review. It’s been a week since watching this one, so while it isn’t super fresh in my mind I might miss some things that I could have expanded upon. I try to jot down notes while watching things, but even in the best situations I miss stuff.
Today’s movie is Red Carpet - 레드카펫
Release Date: 2014
Director: Park Bum Soo
Starring: Yoon Kye Sang and Koh Joon Hee
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director/writer Jung Woo has dreams of producing his works in the film industry, but ends up working for porn films to pay the bills and to stay in the field while he tries to find his way in. Eun Soo is a former child actress who is trying to find her way back into the world of acting away from her former self. The two meet one night and develop a relationship.
Non-spoiler review: When going into the film, I didn’t expect it to turn into the movie that it was and was surprised how much I ended up enjoying it. The movie’s premise is simple: it’s about finding what you love to do and not letting the world’s assumptions tell you that you aren’t worthy of having your voice heard just because you went about it a different way. It has some funny moments, and a great supporting cast of quirky characters and I overall enjoyed it.
Now onto the more in-depth spoiler filled review!
There is one reason, and one reason only that I decided upon this specific movie when I was searching for a movie to watch: I saw Chansung from 2PM in the thumbnail.
I am a weak person and sometimes I only pick things because it has a Kpop Idol I like in it. If you think you can outgrow some things, I’m here to tell you friends it doesn’t matter what age you are. You can revert back to a 13 year old in an instant. However I am pleasantly surprised to have actually given this one a shot, because I came to like the movie much more than I ever would have if I had gone by the synopsis or even the very few reviews that are out there. The movie is admittedly a little silly, and has it’s moments that aren’t the best, but has such a great heart and message that I just really got into it. It also has Yoon Kye Sang from g.o.d in it. Double the idols!
The two leads meet because of the good old “renter-got-both-our money-for-the-same-place-and-bailed” switch. I should say at this point in the review: this film is pretty good at subtly smashing the assumptions you make based on things that are happening, and also within the world of that characters itself. This scene kind of kicks off that by playing up a standard trope right off the bat so that you are forced into an assumption of how things are going to play out. The two became close as she learns he is a screenwriter and enjoys his work, and he starts to fall for her as he learns that she is a pretty decent actress (they also have to do that share the same place thing for a while, so that kind of helps with the tension). They share a night together, and she ends up getting a gig after all of his coaching.
She goes to give him a gift as a thank you, but ends up visiting him while he’s shooting. She doesn’t know he’s shooting, nor does she even know he works in the porn industry, and assumes he’s cheating on her. She leaves him there, without saying a word and without him even knowing that she showed up. I kind of love this plot point as it relates to the assumptions theme in the movie. She leaves because she thinks he’s cheating on her. When she leaves you realize that the porn director - who one might assume is fine with one night stands because of what he does for living - is pretty devastated by it. Assumptions!
The second act of the movie is spent with him slowly crumbling, while she’s flourishing. She gets her break, while he starts to slip out of the sight of what he really wants to do. He stops trying to find someone who will take his script, and while we had seen previously that working in porn and the fallouts of that wasn’t too hard on him, the negatives start to hinder his ability to continue his journey of his dream. He finally gets the courage to meet her again, and she agrees. While they meet at a coffee shop it is only then that she finally learns that he works in porn because her director for her current film (drama? I can’t remember. Thing she’s acting in) is at the same place.
At this point, you the viewer might assume that she might be disgusted by this revelation of news. Or decide that she can’t be seen with him because it will ruin her reputation as an actress and that its going to become the new obstacle of the movie…but that’s not the case. She actually doesn’t care all that much finding out what he does for a living. If anything, it just makes her finally realize what was actually happening the day she left, and she’s ok with it. Oh, if people would just talk then we wouldn’t have these assumptions! They form a friendship again, and she agrees to work on his film, the one he’s been writing, because she believes in his work. She goes into this knowing what it can do to her career and the way that she is perceived, but she believes enough in him and his work that she doesn’t care. For her, she’s never actually cared about those things.
There is a scene where Jung Woo is at Eun Soo’s agency to talk about what they are going to do with the bad press that’s coming out after she’s been spotted working on this movie with a porn director. Jung Woo is having a hard time, as he knows that because of who he is Eun Soo is getting the negative outcome. As Jung Woo is leaving, there is a painting behind him. It is of three people, nude from behind. It’s abstract enough to be a little less visible, but still clear enough to know what it is. The blocking played really well with what they were trying to accomplish for this movie. Here he was, the porn director who’s work is deemed morally wrong and not artistic, in the same room as this other work of nudity in a different medium that is fine and acceptable art.
The movie ends how you kind of expect: the movie they are working on is finally finished and ends up getting picked up at a tiny film festival where the reaction to it is positive and genuine. Eun Soo leaves a major film festival to visit the small one and Eun Soo and Jung Woo are finally together.
I didn’t talk about them, and don’t really have the time, but I do want to touch quickly on the minor characters in the movie. I’m a sucker for good minor characters. I love an array of background characters that aren’t just there to hold up the mains but to have their own life and heart and this movie has that. You genuinely start to love this group of colleagues that have become friends. Their roots all tied to the porn industry gives the laughs, but they really hone into the insight of people being made to feel bad about themselves. We see this in the fight scene at the bar where the girls are reduced down to just beings the patrons think they can grope; but you also see the rise of them becoming their own and defending who they are as people and standing up for each other. They fight for and support Jung Woo’s vision of his movie. I really loved them. They were quirky and fun and really added to the movie.
One of the things that I dislike most of the time about dramas, or really any entertainment for that matter, is the use of overplayed tropes. They are used as a crutch. A way to get the viewer into the script with familiarity, and a way to write something a little bit easier with those prompts. I understand why they are done, and I’m not one to hate something because they happen to be used, but sometimes they can be exhausting when you just want something a little bit different than you expected. This movie kind of took me on that journey. Albeit, it still has it’s tropes and the ending is very predictable, I really enjoyed seeing the movie start to pick up on these overused plots and were aware and ever so slightly change them to something you may not have expected. In a way, that was my own assumption of the movie on whole when I started to watch it: I assumed the movie about a porn director would be campy and cheap humor and in the end it wasn’t about that. In fact it had very little to do with that. It was about people who were being ostracized because they were doing something they loved in a different way than society assumed they should be doing. And in the end, I really liked what this film did to focus on assumptions that are made, and I loved that they went about it in such an off-the-wall way of telling that story. This movie isn’t going to be for everyone, and has it’s share of campy and not so great writing and acting, but in the end the movie had heart. It was funny and enjoyable…and isn’t that what a movie should be?
Here's the trailer if you are interested. I couldn't find an English sub, but I think you can pick up on things fairly easily: