Korean Academy of Film Arts alum So Sang-min makes a promising feature debut with "I'm in Trouble!."

Korean Academy of Film Arts alum So Sang-min makes a promising feature debut with “I’m in Trouble!,” a charmingly modest talking-eating-drinking movie — carved from the same rockface as helmers like Hong Sang-soo, Emmanuel Mouret and Woody Allen — in which a bunch of likable, indecisive losers endlessly repeat the same emotional mistakes. Whether this signals the future direction of So’s career or is simply a one-off by the thirtysomething filmer is yet to be seen. But this quietly playful pic deserves further troublemaking in fest sidebars.

Kim Seon-woo (Min Seong-wook) is a late-budding poet who always seems to be apologizing, not least to his g.f., Yu-na (Jeong Ji-yeon), who dumps him when she finds he’s stood her up on a lunch to meet her father. Seon-woo sets out, with best pal Seung-gyu (Lee Seung-jun), to win her back — temporarily — but then Seon-woo gets seriously entangled with Seung-gyu’s putative g.f., Sun-ae (Kim Ju-ryeong). Emotional merry-go-round between the quartet, played out in the cold light of wintry South Korea, is kept alive by both the thesps’ easy chemistry and So’s wry, inventive script, shot plainly but without false artistry.

I'm in Trouble!

South Korea

Production

A KAFA Films production. (International sales: CJ Entertainment, Seoul.) Produced by Song Hyeok-jo. Directed, written by So Sang-min.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Oh Tae-seok; editor, Kim Chang-ju; music, Shim Hyeong-jeong; art director, Park Ji-hyeon; costume designer, Bong Shi-nae. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 12, 2010. Original title: Na-neun gon-gyeong-e cheohaettda!. (Also in 2009 Pusan Film Festival.) Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Min Seong-wook, Lee Seung-jun, Jeong Ji-yeon, Kim Ju-ryeong.

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