Roo-mi (played by Shim Eun-kyung) is a young woman owns and manages a successful local independent fried chicken restaurant. Roo-mi has had a pretty rough time of life since her father Seok-heon (played by Ryu Seung-ryong) left the family. But it turns out that life can get even worse than that. A massive (and probably crooked) construction project is underway, and when Roo-mi refuses a payout for her property, the gangster capitalists resort to violence in an effort to intimidate Roo-mi as well as her many neighbors in the commercial district to compliance.
There's quite a bit of class conflict in "Psychokinesis" considering the movie is, as the title implies, a superhero movie. But ah, that's really more a limitation of modern filmmakers than it is inherent to the genre. Golden Age Superman, as in, the version from eighty years ago, regularly fought against businessmen who sought to exploit the misery of the lower classes for transparently selfish personal profit. That was back during the Great Depression. Those were different times.
In terms of media representation anyway. Class conflict is still alive and well in the present day, and that's where Seok-heon comes in. Seok-heon is a bank guard who is utterly clueless as to just how ruthless real banks are. So when it becomes clear that his family is in danger, Seok-heon's first instinct is to use his newfound powers within the confines of the system. Seok-heon's ideas are incredibly goofy, and provide most of the levity in the movie's otherwise very dark first act.
But then, finally, Seok-heon realizes that Roo-mi and her neighbors are up against a far serious existential threat than mere poverty. Law and order, that force we are brainwashed into believing looks out for us, is actually far more concerned with the interests of wealthy powerful people. It takes a long time for Seok-heon to figure out just how bad the situation really is- and it is glorious when he finally breaks the chains and heads off on a truly righteous rampage.
Not just metaphorically, but aesthetically too. There's a manic slapstick element to the fights that's highly reminiscent of modern kung fu spoofs. People don't really try to fight Seok-heon so much as they just stare bewildered at the giant clumsy mess created every time he uses his powers. The reactions to Seok-hoon from various extras are always great, since it never takes long for him to impress on other people that he is both dangerous, and also has excellent comedic timing.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "Psychokinesis""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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