Pluto (명왕성 )
Synopsis: Yoo-Jin is found dead in the mountain behind his high school. Joon becomes the prime suspect due to his cellphone being found at the crime scene and the testimony of his fellow students. Joon is released though due to insufficient evidence.
Joon tried to join a secret group at their the high school, which Yoo-Jin led. The secret group consists of only the top 1% at their school. Dark secrets are revealed behind this exclusive club.
source: asian wiki
Country: South Korea
Genre: drama, thriller
Aired: Oct 2012
Director/scriptwriter: Shin Su Won
Casting: Sung Joon, Lee Da Wit, Kim Kkobu, Kim Kwon…
Success has a price
A friend of mine advised me this movie cause she had loved it. Pluto is a tough, disturbing movie that describes a reality that is not always accepted or admitted by everyone. This is not the first movie that deals with this topic. But Pluto broachs it in a different way than the other. The director- Shin Su Won- depicts with strength a school system which goes to the dogs. We witness, sceptical, to events that we would like to see as untrue.
The firsts minutes of the movies give the tone. On a black backgrounds, words appear. Powerful words that reverberate the truth. With only a few lines the director shows the absurdity of a school system that forces children to work more hours than their parents. We are surprised by those words and intrigued. But it’s nothing compared to the following scenes that are even more disturbing. With a clever alternate edited montage the film director, immersed us in an oppressive atmosphere. A hunt rabbit is paralleled to the murder of a student: Yoo Jin (Sung Joon). For a start, that’s a start!
This murder raises numerous question, and one in particular: how comes that one of the best students of the school was suddenly found dead? Throught a transferred students -Joon (Lee Da Wit)- we discover the life of the school’s elite. It’s at this moment that we realize that everything is in fact, about competition. Our hero, just as the majority of students, would do absolutely anything to enter this elite club. Completely desesperate after receiving his first exams results -which weren’t that bad- he decides to do everything in his power to enter this restricitve club. It’s that or pay a private tutor that he can not afford. But to become a member he has to prove his worth. That is when he is forced to accomplish missions. Missions that become little by little more awful than the ones before. We witness completely dismayed to his progressive transformation. He becomes a monster. We want to close our eyes, but we can’t. We are mesmerised and shocked by this violence. The characters -each one crazier than the other- display an unbelievable cruelty. Specially for their age! But as the title says: success has a price.
The way the director shot the scenes makes us dizzy. Places, music, colours…everything was meticulously chosen. The story takes place in a remote highschool surrounded by a forest and a quarry, where numerous explosive tests are carried out. In addition to all that, there are many deserted rooms in the highschool’s basement which apparently were former torture chambers (yummy). Those places are frightening and we can’t help ourselves to shiver. With its strident and disturbing sound, the music -composed by Ryu Jae Ah- completes perfectly the grey picture that is displayed to our eyes. Even the title wasn’t chosen by accident. Pluto refers to the planet itself. Pluto, a planet that is not considerate as a planet because of its size, its distance from the sun etc…Because of its difference with the other planets it is considered as an ‘outsider’. Just like there is difference between the elite students and the others. A difference that drives a wedge.
Movies that addresses this subject, often focused on one and only one point: bullying. But here the director does not hesitate to denounce the all educational system. Suicide, harassment, blackmails, differences between classes (and the role of money in all that), the indifference of the adults (especially the indifference of the directors), the loneliness of students stuck in the same place…everything is brought to light. The ill being of the students are seen through Joon and Yoo Jin. The murder of this latter, triggers the hero’s conscience. He realizes what he has become. And the final scene is deeply distressing!
Thanks to the performance of the actors, this movie was outstanding. I already knew that Sung Joon was talentuous but his performance here only strenghtens my original thought about him. As for Lee Da Wit, it was the first time that I was seeing him in a movie but I was quickly convinced by his play.
Finally this movie reveals a reality that is generally forgotten or shut. I already knew that korean students had to endure lots of pressure during their school years but seeing it through pictures made this idea more concret in my mind. In the end this movie broadens my opinion about the Korean society even though I know we can’t make a generalization of Pluto‘s case.
NB: The director uses her personal experience to make this movie. Indeed, before being a film director, she was a middle school teacher. Her movie, Pluto, drew the crowds and was presented to numerous festival.
(“I’m only 19…why do I have to live like that?”)
Note de Whoovy: 8/10
Trailer engsub here (not official)