Students, Style and Substence
Seong-jun (Joon-sang Yoo), a movie director and professor arrives back in Seoul to spend a few days with an old friend who is now a critic but with the old friend unable to meet him straight away the director must walk around for a bit which leads to him getting drunk, berating some young fans for copying him and ending up in a catatonic state at a former girlfriends. Next day he finally meets up with his old friend and end up in a bar where the waitress reminds him of his former girlfriend.
About 10 years ago if I had come across a movie like "The Day He Arrives" I would have approached it enthusiastically with the set up of a movie director and critic being old friends being intriguing. Now when I read that it made me wary because that sounded the sort of arthouse movie that some film student might have come up with as part of their course work and as such is the sort of movie which might impress film students but leave those seeking entertainment outside of the box bereft of enjoyment and satisfaction.
Sadly it left me bereft as "The Day He Arrives" is most definitely an arthouse movie which ends up style over substance with that substance being about how life repeats itself as we bump into the same people whilst we have a type when it comes to who we fancy and so on. The trouble is that the style did little for me and whilst I like the use of the crisp black & white the framing failed to impress especially when for no reason other than to provide movement in a predominantly static movie the camera zooms in. It is unnatural and screams of a director resorting to this time and again to try and instil some sort of energy into things but failing to do so.
What this all boils down to is that "The Day He Arrives" didn't work for me and found its attempts at style to be quite ordinary whilst the theme of life repeating itself less than captivating. But then I came to "The Day He Arrives" to be entertained rather than to analyse it like a film student and I am sure that those who study direction and style will find it more interesting.