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Film Review: Spy-type Model

Lee a-joo as Lee and Joo Jong hyuk as Hyungwoo

Spy-type Model is a dramatic sci-fi, written and directed by Korean independent filmmaker Kim Young il.

In his debut feature film, Kim Young il creates an impressive film with mysterious characters and dramatic incidents that keep the story intriguing throughout.

Spy-type Model tells the story of Kim Hyungwoo, a part-time cashier in his twenties who picks up a wallet and returns it to its owner. But the wallet owner isn't an ordinary guy. His face is covered with blood, and even though he offers Hyngwoo a tip for bringing him the wallet, his silence and reactions tell us that something is quite wrong with this man. Hyungwoo decides to follow the man, and we can't help but shout at the screen: Don't do it! But he does, and witnesses a meeting between the weird man (who we later find out his name is Dongho Choi) and a businesswoman (whose name is Lee).

Jang huyn Dong as Choi Dongho

Lee notices Hyungwoo and warns him - "Run away, you're in danger." He hides, but Lee already knows who Hyungwoo is and how to find him, and together they go on a journey into a world he never knew of as he sets off to find Choi.

Joo Jong hyuk leads this film with his fantastic performance as Hyungwoo - a clever, yet innocent young man who is about to get in real trouble, just for being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. His curiosity outweighs the fear, and so he is led straight into danger and complicates himself, his environment and the entire plot. His character is fascinating. His actions tell us that he's a decent human being (for example, when he helps the homeless man at night), but his actions make you wonder about his motivations. Joo Jong hyuk and Lee a-joo who plays Lee, make a great duo. The relationship between these two characters becomes deep, even though the conflicts and incidents that the plot throws at them. Jang huyn Dong's performance as the cruel Choi Dongho is impressive too.

"A fantastic performance". Joo Jong hyuk as Hyungwoo

Trying to understand Hyungwoo's actions, Lee, investigates him and asks: Why do you follow people? A question the viewer definitely wants to know the answer for at that point. His answer doesn't satisfy the viewer or the businesswoman, who warns him again of Choi's power and hints at how dangerous he might be. As the story progresses, and Lee earns Hyungwoo's trust, many questions arise in the characters' minds as well as the audience's, such as what exactly are these fatal powers, who is a real spy-type model, and why does Hyungwoo keep on running? After the midpoint, we start getting the answers and the pieces of the puzzle connect. We understand Hyungwoo's motives, and why he got obsessed with running, and with the future scan

"Why do you follow people?" Lee "investigates" Hyungwoo.

We enjoyed the way the story takes interesting and unexpected turns and the mystery that surrounds every single scene. The dialogue is very well written and helps the actors develop believable characters. In terms of aesthetics, we loved the camera work by Director of Photography Ok mun su whose precise compositions and minimalistic camera movement add another dimension in terms of storytelling.

Spy-type Model won Best First Time Director (Feature) at LAFA (August 2020).


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