NewsLetter DailyWeekly
My HanCinema | Sign up, Why ? Your E-mail   Password    Auto| Help
HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and Drama Database, discover the South Korean cinema and drama diversity Contact HanCinema HanCinema on TwitterFaceBook HanCinema PageHanCinema on Twitter

[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Great Actor"

2016/06/04 | Permalink

Seong-pil (played by Oh Dal-soo) is an actor that once worked with men who ended up becoming major players in the film industry. Unfortunately Seong-pil, lacking as he is in either charisma or talent, is stuck doing stage plays. And I'm not referring to the high-brow stage stuff. Seong-pil plays a dog in shows that are obviously aimed at children, and frequently fail to maintain a decent interest level even in that audience.

So far "The Great Actor" probably sounds fairly depressing. What makes the movie remarkable is that the tone frequently belies the inherently sad nature of Seong-pil's life. Though Seong-pil dreams of being a serious actor, time and again the man is at his most amusing when he is the butt of some cruel joke. Seong-pil constantly petitions for help from people who don't especially care about him yet are unwilling to actually admit this.

All Seong-pil really has going for him is a powerful sense of tenacity, this unwavering belief that he could become a great actor if only the right little pieces would fall into place. As a dreamer, Seong-pil has a great deal of personal dignity. Seong-pil never considers the possibility that he should just give up and try to provide for his family in a more effectual way, because that would be betraying the very essence of the idea that a person can be anything if they put their minds to it.

The sad irony there being that this ideal is, in itself, frequently transmitted through actors and movies, even though the world of entertainment is no less forgiving than the real one. Considering how funny Seong-pil is, often if only by accident, it often seems like the real tragedy is that Seong-pil has aimed too high and is unwilling to lower his sights in view of the changed situation. Seong-pil is a martyr to his dream because that's the choice he willingly makes, even to the point of stigmata.

Right down to the ending "The Great Actor" is completely focused on this contract, leaving us to wonder if it actually matter whether or not Seong-pil succeeds in his dream. After all, even success frequently leads to disappointment and suffering. Yet Seong-pil himself clearly does not care how much pain and humiliation has to be endured so long as something vaguely resembling an uplifting ending is in sight somewhere.

That's the kind of movie "The Great Actor" is- it legitimizes optimism, not by making optimism real, but by pointing out that optimism really can give people the fortitude necessary to do just about anything. By wanting to be a great actor, what Seong-pil really wants to do is just set a good example. Ultimately Seong-pil succeeds in giving that kind of optimism to one person- really the only person that counts anyway. Is Seong-pil satisfied with that modest victory? Of course not. All the same Oh Dal-soo's powerful performance as the earnest dreaming Seong-pil outweighs the greater sadness in "The Great Actor", making the movie more inspirational than it probably should be.

Review by William Schwartz

"The Great Actor" is directed by Seok Min-woo and features Oh Dal-soo, Yoon Je-moon, Lee Kyung-young and Jin Kyung.

Copy & paste guideline for this article
Always put a link back to the source and HanCinema permalink

Creative Commons License"[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Great Actor""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Related movies/dramas

Attention You're reading the news with potential spoilers, make them spoiler free, dismiss



More videos

 Previous news

Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$0.99 monthly or US$7.99 yearly (you can cancel anytime). The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up.


Remove ads

Sign up




Visible, hide

Learn to read Korean in 90 minutes or less using visual associations