Sunday, October 09, 2011

Love, In Between (두여자 / Du Yeoja)

Having Fun With the Enemy

This is like the non-violent Fatal Attraction where while Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, the woman here decided to see it as a chance for liberation from what would seem like a perfect marriage, giving that up for the single life all over again. But curiosity has a thing for the cat, and like a sucker for punishment, her inquisition gets the better of her and through a series of calculated moves, sets herself up, and the people around her, for plenty of disappointment.

Shin Eun-Kyung of My Wife is a Gangster fame decided to bare all in his film where her So-Young discovers that her husband, architectural professor Yun Ji-Seok (Jeong Jun-Ho) is having an affair with his post-grad student Su-Ji (Shim Yi-Young), in what would be his rationale of being unable to leave one for the other because he has got so much love to give. In what would be an accidental meeting between So-Young and Su-Ji no thanks to the former getting too close to the latter during her tailing, an elaborate plot gets cooked up where So-Young adopts a different name and identity, to get close to and befriends Su-Ji in order to find out more about how much of a cad is her husband, what kind of a woman is Su Ji that her husband would have fallen for and cheated on her, and ultimately, trying to curb that sneak peek into other people's lives that could've been hers.

What would come out of this instead would be So-Young's own descent into a life involving a younger lover in Jae Hee (Kwon Sung-Min), as well as striking up a firm friendship with Su-Ji since the younger girl really took on the close relations and become a close confidante, and unknown to Su-Ji she's really getting too close to the enemy in letting her know her most innermost thoughts and desires. For So-Young it became a roller coaster emotional ride that on one hand wants to seek revenge against the woman who had ruined her matrimony, and on the other sympathizing that the poor girl doesn't even suspect a thing, and like her, are really in love with probably the wrong chap, since if he can cheat on one, he definitely has the propensity to do it again.

It's an exploration of the choices one makes when put in a situation that stabs through the heart, and Shin Eun-Kyung portrays this dilemma and contradiction really well, becoming the highlight of the film. Director Jeong Yun-Su serves up some eroticism as well which in essence could have been done without, if not only to spice up the plot through a show of skin that would rake in a lot of interest otherwise it will probably fall on the wayside given its rather straightforward plot about an established marriage that had turned sour, and the things people do to cope, whether rational or otherwise. There's also the usual plot convenience in making Su-Ji really oblivious to the none too subtle ways that So-Young behaves in, although this got explained away pretty quickly through a reveal later on involving mistaken (just as well) identities and photography.

In fact, that's what the premise is hinging onto, requiring a fair bit of stretching one's imagination, questions such as knowing thy enemy way in advance so that one knows who one is up against, and the implausibility of Su-Ji knowing her lover is a married man, yet in her own exploits to find out more about the other woman failed to bear fruit, only for So-Young to come knocking on her door adopting a different identity, and the two instead of going all catty and clawing each other, became fast and firm friends, perhaps each innately feels the pain of the other in having to go through a relationship with someone who takes them for granted and is unfaithful. Some guys have all the luck indeed.

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