“The Host,” the biggest box-office hit ever in South Korea, will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, May 25, Saturday the 26th, Monday the 28th and Tuesday the 29th and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 27 at the Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St.
“The Host” takes familiar elements and crushes them in much the same way the title creature runs amok along the Seoul riverbank it calls home. Written and directed by Bong Joon-ho, it's a film that will catch you leaning in one direction and abruptly pull you in another, all the while building to a surprisingly emotional climax.
The opening attack is well-directed and it gives the story its principal excuse (the monster grabs the granddaughter) and something just as satisfying if unexpected: a portrait of parents, children and the ties that bind, sometimes to the point of near-strangulation.
The script is laced with political jabs that include a solid broadside at the perceived paternalism embedded in U.S.-South Korean relations. Director Bong is also concerned with South Korea's social structure — poking fun at the soullessness of salarymen while championing the working class — and it's no surprise that he studied sociology at the University of Yonsei.
“The Host” is a loopy, feverishly imaginative genre hybrid about the demons that haunt us from without and within. It's a creature feature that refuses to settle into a mold, and that's precisely why it deserves a look.
In Korean with English subtitles, it's rated R and has a running time of two hours. Tickets are $5 general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens and are available at the door. For details, call (315) 781-LIVE or toll-free (866) 355-LIVE or visit The Smith.