“The Host”, a 2006

Posted: October 17th, 2013





“The Host”, a 2006

            The Host is a 2006 monster film from South Korea that contains both comedy and drama. The film mainly deals with the adverse effects brought about by America’s military presence in the state of Korea. The plot of the movie is based on Park Hee-bong, an elderly man in his late sixties. Park Hee-bong is a businessperson who manages a snack bar on the banks of the Han River. He still supports his family that consists of two sons, one beautiful daughter and a granddaughter. The family seems to be a little poorer than the average South Korean family. The elder brother, Gang-du, is depicted as an immature and incompetent individual who is in his forties. His lives alone as his wife left him a long time ago. The youngest son, Nam-il is currently unemployed and thus results to gambling. The daughter, Nam-joo, is a professional archer who has won medals in various competitions and currently a member of the Korean national team.

During one of the afternoon a mysteries monster arises from the depths of the Hans River runs amuck throughout the entire settlement resulting in death and panic among the settlers. The entire village turns into wailing as the once peaceful riverbank is instantly turned into a terrifying sea of blood. The monster carries of with Gang-du’s daughter Hyun-seo and the monster mysteriously disappears just as it had appeared. The reigning government is caught utterly unawares and helpless as all its efforts are deemed useless. The remaining family members are left mourning the loss of their loved one. However, their agony is short lived as they soon find out that she is not yet dead but alive. They all decide to carry out a mission on how to save her.

The creators of the film are considered to have come up with an ingenious way of highlighting the plea of the South Koreans in view of the occupation of the American army. This is done in a rather comical but yet dramatic manner. Carrying historical background regarding Seoul indicates there was once an environmental disaster at hand whereby the activities of the united states of American military resulted in the dumping of a considerable amount of formaldehyde down the sewers and into the river. This resulted in environmental concerns in addition to the creation of a conflict between South Korea and the United States’ military. The movie attempts to both comically and dramatically depict the events of this tragic event.

The movie portrays the American army and its government as both uncaring and reckless towards the Korean people. The directors effectively used satire in the movie by naming the chemical used to tackle the destructive monster as “Agent Yellow” in allegory to Agent Orange. This makes the movie fall in the category of anti-American films through its political allusions and commentary concerning the United States of America.

The themes of the movie are also highly critical of the activities carried out by the United States military. The film also goes to the lengths of satirizing the Korean government depicting it as bureaucratic, inept, and fundamentally uncaring. The movie portrays mixed groups of the Korean youth. There are those who act heroically, there are others who seem self-righteous while others seem utterly oblivious of the prevailing predicaments that their society is in. The character of Park Nam-il has been purposefully as an anachronism. The character is used to refer to the violent protests that were a dominant of the past Korean political regime. The character of Park Nam-il also alludes to the college protesters who in the caused uproar through protests and demonstrations against oppressive regimes. The film can therefore be considered as form of literature where by it acts as a true mirror of the society.

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