This week I’m going to review another Korean movie. But this one is not quite like others. Korean movie industry is famous for 4 main genres which are romance, horror, historical and crime.
But Train to Busan I’m going to review this week is the whole new experiment for Korean movies and, fortunately, it has been receiving an overwhelming appreciation worldwide.
It’s the most tear-jerking and heart-wrenching zombie movie I’ve ever seen!
From the poster, Train to Busan might just be just another zombie-horror movie in the market, when it is actually something more. Selfishness, family, survival, and human relationship are the core messages from the film.
The movie starts with one broken family with Seok-woo, a stressful and selfish workaholic, and his daughter, Soo-An. Since Seok-woo has always been neglecting her, Soo-An demands that she go see her mother on her birthday. They hop on the train that, unfortunately, one of the zombie-bitten victims has slipped on too.
The audiences are faced with the bullet train ride of emotion and thrill, along with Seok-woo who is forced to realize how family is worth fighting for no matter what’s the odds.
Firstly, in order to establish the background understanding, one must understand that Busan is very far away from Seoul, 325 km. to be exact. It is a more than 2 hours flight. The KTX train, one of the fastest trains in Korea, use roughly 3 hours to get to Busan from Seoul Station.
3 hours. That’s all it takes for zombie apocalypse to take over Korea.
And maybe it’s because Busan is so far away from the central city, that it manages to block away the apocalypse.
Which one is more important,
work VS family?
Seok-woo is a really successful businessman who is typically mercenary and selfish. The negligence for his family has driven his daughter to the edge. She demanded that she wants to go to her mother with or without Seok-woo’s company. With the sense of father, he ended up taking Soo-An on the earliest train to Busan so than he could go back to Seoul to do his work as soon as possible.
“Children are tired of broken promises.”
The film has shown us quite clearly that he is the type of guy who is willing to trade-off anything for his own benefit and success. This characteristic of him is shown through the business deal he did before getting on the train and the phone calls he made to kept only him and his daughter to survive.
In the second act, Soo-An displays
strong distrust towards her father in a way that she’s willing to put her life in the hand of strangers rather than go with the selfish Seok-woo.
After a 3-hours train of emotion, the audience will get to see the changes in Seok-woo’s character from the selfish businessman to a father who is willing to do anything to keep his daughter safe.
What is really worth fighting for?
There are many essential characters that got on this train. Each has different goals to fight for. Apart from the mutual one which is survival, the film shows us that sometimes fighting for survival doesn’t have to mean selfishness.
There are many kinds of morality on this train. Apart from many grownups on the trains who were busy worrying about themselves and their family members, there is a group of high school baseball team who represent a more innocent kind of morality.
We can see the strong contrast between grownups who think that the right things to do in this situation is to keep themselves safe, and the teenagers who try their best to keep others safe too. They tried desperately hard to help as many people as possible to get on the train.
However, with the grownups’ selfishness, the baseball team is forced to leave the safe bogie with the excuse that the blood on them could be contagious. The phrase ‘To nourish a snake in one’s bosom’ is so fitting in that situation.
The scene where the young cheerleader girl tries to open the bogie door to her friends but got stopped by the selfish grown-ups that many of them got bitten is not only sad but also very depressing.
I wonder whether I would become more selfish as I grow older or not…
Movies often show that in the time of crisis, human’s selfishness take over morality completely. But this movie shows us that that’s not the only scenario possible.
The time of crisis is the time that needs harmony and generosity the most. More than any other time. I couldn’t stop imagine that if people on that train stop thinking about personal interest just for a second and try thinking of other people’s welfare, maybe more people would still be alive.
Information is easily corrupted.
As a student in the new media class, I found this movie quite interesting in portraying the importance of information at the time of crisis. In the film, the government is trying to keep peace and keep the citizens calm with lies. Claiming that situation is just a violent riot against the government, the lack of knowledge keeps the citizens from learning how to protect themselves from the real threats.
Rather than the main media that the government has hijacked, the Internet wins at delivering what’s really happening in the film. This shows that in time of crisis, anyone who wants to deliver earnest and real news can be a journalist too.