ASIAN FILM - Review
11:00 - 29th June 2014, by Calum Waddell

Pluto

This grim, low budgeted Korean thriller has been saved from the trenches thanks to Third Window Films, who have an impeccable eye for spotting both a director-to-watch and a taught little pot-boiler that deserves exposure to a global audience. Given the infamous behaviour of the privileged Bullingdon Club in the UK, Pluto may actually resonate quite well on these shores too.

The story involves a clique of high school kids who have created an elite group, the main activities of which are bullying and cheating on exams. They welcome a new student - who is struggling to achieve good grades - into their 'group', providing that he completes a series of tasks. Unfortunately, the tasks at hand are frequently humiliating, vicious, and, eventually, self-destructive.

Shot on an evident low budget, and with a sparse cast of young actors, Pluto is sombre and almost entirely without humour. The usual high school tropes are included - such as awkwardness around girls and peer pressure - but otherwise, this is a clear commentary on the perils of patriarchy: quite a brave move, given South Korea's delirious demands on its young (such as two years of armed service). Masculine authority is frequently presented as both manipulative and murderous. And if the future is posited as bleak throughout Pluto, then it goes without saying that nothing ends especially well in this frequently dingy youth-nightmare. The cast in this opus is always believable, and the atmosphere is as dark as the aesthetics. Slightly self-indulgent but still effective, Pluto is a welcome entry in the ever evolving genre of Seoul-based teen-angst.

Pluto is a sharp reminder that high school nostalgia is probably unwarranted...
SCORE: 3.5/5
blog comments powered by Disqus
SHARE THIS ARTICLE

NEO MAGAZINE
Issue 169, on sale now!
DIGITAL EDITION
PRINT EDITION

Uncooked Media
© 2018
Uncooked Media Ltd
PO Box 6337,
Bournemouth,
BH1 9EH
Reg: 04750336