Office (Opiseu,2015)

South Korean DVD

Former child actor prodigy Ko Ah-sung makes an impact as the harassed office intern Lee Mi-rye

Text below written 2016-07-20


A psychological crime-thriller that turns into a horror-slasher, and with some similarities with the crime-drama The Shameless
in 1. Both were shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015, and 2. Both have Powerhouse performances from their
female actress stars, in The Shameless from 43 year old actor icon Yeon Do-yeon and in Office from 24 year old ex-child
star Ko Ah-sung. Office is a Bravura piece for her, the former child actor that we saw and liked in the Super Hit monster
movie The Host in 2006 and then as an adult in Snowpiercer in 2013. A Bong Joon-ho favourite and also an accomplished
photographer and best friend to a third South Korean actress divinity, the great Bae Doo-na.
Doo-na is already an international star, when will the power of Yeon Do-yeon and Ko Ah-sung be recognized in the west?

Who's late for work in the picture above, can you pick her out?

The film starts with a nasty scene where the tired office worker, sales manager Mr. Kim (Bae Sung-woo) is dragging his
feet on the way home to his family after work. At home he suddenly grabs a hammer and murders his whole family, his wife,
mother and little son. Then, the debut director and co-script writer Hong Won Chan (scriptwriter to i.a. The Chaser) throws
us into the Seoul morning traffic where we get to see young Lee Mi-rye (Ko Ah-sung) commute from her home a far bit
outside of Seoul by metro and bus. She has to rise very early to be able to reach her office in central Seoul in time.

Seoul and the Han River in early morning light

Mi-rye is working as an intern at some big office and she tries hard to fit in with her wolf-like colleagues in the office land-
scape, but she's always picked on and harassed. Poor, poor Mi-rye's an unhappy girl seemingly working in The Office from
Hell. The only one who was nice to her was Sales manager Mr. Kim and now he's murdered his whole family and are on the
run from the police. The incompetent Police inspector Jong-hoon (Park Sung-woong, the killer in The Shameless) investigates
the case and feels that the office staff aren't telling the truth about Mr. Kim and that the intern Lee Mi-rye hides something.

Police officer Jong-hoon questioning Mi-rye with the Han River below

The Slasher killer strikes 4 times in the office at the River .... sounds almost like a 1970's Giallo title

Where's Mr. Kim? CCV surveillance soon shows that Mr. Kim returned to work after murdering his family, and that he's
hiding somewhere in the building. Soon the murders start and the incompetent police are totally useless in stopping them.
The office staff knows that the crazed and revengeful Mr. Kim is out to get them, and that's because they treated him
poorly just like they did Mi-rye. Their aggressive boss makes their office a nasty place to work at, and when the boss
harasses sales woman Hong (Ryo Hyun-kyung) she then harasses poor Mi-rye. Last in the pecking order.
Mi-rye doesn't feel any better when another intern is hired and she suspects that she won't get the job after her 6 months
and, will the serial killer spare her?

This film is a good thriller venturing into a slasher horror, not super good but good, and the film totally belongs to the great
Ko Ah-sung as the unhappy office intern doing her best to fit in and get her employment after her internship. Also, great
photography from Park Yong-soo. Ko deservedly won a Best actress award in Malaga, Spain.
Anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, 5.1 korean audio with english subtitles. Extras without subs: trailer, short featurette behind
the scenes, premier in front of audience footage, teaser footage, actors speaks 4 min, 2 trailers, promo footage

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