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A Million

A million

a review by Steve Cameron

Distributor: Madman
Year: 2009
Language: Korean (with English subtitles)

Eight young Koreans become contestants on a Survivor type reality TV show. They are flown to Australia, then transported to a house in the outback. All they have to do is play seven games, one per day, with eliminations at the completion of each. The last contestant standing will win a million dollars. But not everything is as it seems, and it doesn’t take long for them to realise something is a little fishy.

This low-budget, B-grade Korean movie requires the audience to suspend its disbelief for almost two hours. I certainly realised not everything was right well before the smartest contestant asked any questions. Having said that, however, this film is by no means terrible. Sure, the characters are obvious stereotypes, the dialogue and narrative are somewhat clichéd and unsophisticated compared to other productions of a similar ilk, and the acting is uneven throughout the film, but as someone who has spent several years living in Asia and watching a fair amount of Asian cinema, I am well aware there are different ideologies and sensibilities at play.

It was certainly interesting seeing Australia through the lens of an Asian director, although I must admit to being puzzled by the appearance of what seemed to be a jaguar (the animal, not the car) in the middle of the Australian bush one night. Perhaps I was mistaken – or perhaps the Australian dingo isn’t recognisably dangerous enough for Korean audiences.
Want a late night in watching a weekly rental? Then this is the sort of film that will sit nicely alongside other B-grade horror films.

Previously published in Dark Matter issue 4, July 2011, blog post predated to reflect the original publication date.

Cover: ©2009 Showbox/Mediaplex, Inc.

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Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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