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The Film
Barking Dogs Never Bite

Its Origin
South Korea

Running Time
110 mins


Bong Joon-Ho

Lee Sung-Jae
Bae Doo-Na

DVD Distributor

DVD Origin
Hong Kong

Region Code

DVD Format

Audio Tracks
Korean DD2.0
Cantonese DD5.1

Chinese, English

Screen Format
Anamorphic Widescreen

Special Info

Film rating:

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Barking Dogs Never Bite

Film Review

Yoon-ju, an unemployed college lecturer kidnaps dogs living around him because their barking annoys him so much. At the same time, a secretary, Hyun Nam, in the appartment superintendent's office witnesses his act of throwing a dog from the rooftop across from her. She decides she has to do something to save the dogs.

There are probably few things that are as annoying as a repetitive noise that you can do nothing about. The dripping of a pipe, the persistent passing of trains, the constant barking of dogs. The latter is what drives the main protagonist of this feature round the bend, and his means of remedying his situation lead to other problems. A typical chain of events is started once he sets down his path. That same sort of phrase could be used for pretty much any genre of film and there is a good chance that those other genres and films would be more interesting than this one.

If you are familiar with the TV series Lost you'll know that in the first season in particular nothing much really happened, yet it was entirely gripping due to its slow but intricate build up of character development, relationships and seeming coincidences. Well Barking Dogs Never Bite is half like that - nothing much really happens. Unfortunately it doesn't fare so well in the other stakes; the character development is shallow, and the chain of occurring events are only mildly interesting.

Aspects of the film did surprise me though, as the lead character is actually responsible for the deaths of a few dogs, including throwing one of a building's roof. This is not the sort of behaviour I am generally accustomed to from the "good guy" lead, and what made it more surprising is that there was no notable punishment delivered to the character. What morals is this film putting across? Questionable ones at times. Yes I know it is just a film and a not-so-great comedy, but I was still surprised by the actions.

Throughout the running time of the feature, I never felt gripped by what was going on, or particularly caring for any of the characters. Comical situations often felt forced or somewhat clichéd (running into a door just as it's opened) so rarely got more than a mere half-hearted smile out of me. This was a little disappointing as the trailer made it appear far more comical than it turned out to be - I guess it did its job pretty well then! Performances from the cast were decent enough, Bae Doo-Na being the highlight, giving her usual energetic depiction of her character. The others were not particularly memorable other than Lee Sung-Jae making his character seem rather boring.

I wasn't overly impressed with this film, which was a massive disappointment as I had been looking forward to seeing it for quite a while. Such is my disappointment, I've lost the will and motivation to go into more detail in this review. It just goes to show that trailers can make very mediocre films look good.



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All review content copyrighted © (2003-2009) Kris Wojciechowski

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