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My Name is Loh Kiwan Review – A Tender Romance with Moving Performances

By Binged Bureau - Mar 02, 2024 @ 06:03 pm
2.75 / 5
BOTTOM LINE: A Tender Romance with Moving Performances
Rating
2.75 / 5
Skin N Swear
Drug Abuse, Cuss words
Romance, Drama

What Is the Story About?

Based on the popular South Korean novel ‘I met Loh Kiwan’ written by Cho Hae-jin, My Name is Loh Kiwan is a tender, tragic and moving story of a North Korean defector comrade Loh Kiwan who travels to Belgium seeking refuge. He meets an emotionally wrecked and drug addict Marie who has Korean roots. The movie follows their relationship as it makes a moving turn that stands the test of time, tragedy and crisis as a ray of hope. My Name is Loh Kiwan is a tender romance that retells the strength of love amidst adversities.

Performances?

The movie largely relies on two characters : Loh Kiwan and Marie played by actors Song Joong Ki and Choi Sung Eun. Without an ounce of apprehension, it’s the actors’ moving performances and effortlessly touching chemistry that takes the movie to places.

Song Joong Ki plays Loh Kiwan, the righteous North Korean Soldier and defector who is torn by the guilt of having defected with the money of selling his dead mother’s corpse. He falls in love with an unstable Marie and one can’t stop adoring the innocence with which he tends to her.

Choi Sung Eun plays Marie, an ex-shooting athelete who likewise is also burdened by the death of her sick mother. The Euthanasia she was subjected to makes her mentally unstable and also addict to substance abuse thereby straining her relationship with her father. The glances she steals of Loh Kiwan and their sweet-little moments of togetherness makes you root for the couple in more ways than one.

Analysis

Based on the famous Korean Novel ‘I met Loh Kiwan’, Netflix’s ‘My name is Loh Kiwan’ is written and directed by Kim Hee-jin and is based on the life of a North Korean defector in Belgium as he seeks for refuge in the country.

The movie starts off with Loh Kiwan illegally immigrating to Belgium with a forged passport and flight-tickets. He puts himself through a lengthy procedure seeking ‘refuge status’ in the country owing to his North Korean roots. Literally homeless, shelter-less and hopeless, Loh Kiwan struggles to keep his ends meet to survive until the procedure is through.

The movie throws flashes back to Loh Kiwan’s past to explain viewers about his time in China with his mother, his mother’s death and the blood soaked money that he carries in his wallet one after the other. So as to keep his mother’s last words, Loh Kiwan decides to stay afloat in Brussels for as long as he could by working as hard as he could. Even if that means living in public washrooms or faking a chinese-korean name for work.

Loh Kiwan accidentally meets Marie when she is caught stealing his wallet late at night in the CCTV. Marie promises to return his wallet when Kiwan tells her about his dead mother. An ex-shooting athelete and now on drug-detox, Marie subjects herself to behind-the-curtain illegal betting to secure his wallet back.

The duo falls in love while trying to heal each other’s long-hidden scars and guilts. However, all doesn’t really end well for the couple as their brief union comes to a halt amidst Loh Kiwan’s complicated refuge-status court case and Marie’s entanglement with the betting gangs.

My Name is Loh Kiwan is a testament of the strength of love to win over every adversity and crisis, come what may. It underlines the fact that true love is mutual healing and mutual growth as Loh Kiwan and Marie undergoes trials and tribulations, one after the other desperately for their life-long togetherness.

The movie is a melancholic and slown-burn tender romance, with two equally broken and torn individuals yearning for each other and being each other’s shoulders, wonderfully carried by the organic and believable chemistry between the lead actors. One particular stand-out scene in the film is when Loh Kiwan wipes the blood of his dead mother off the roads and bares his soul down. The story takes its sweet time to establish the pain that resides in both the characters and eventually make us root for their union.

However, My Name is Loh Kiwan could have been far better a film if the third act landed. When Marie and Loh Kiwan falls in love, you wish to see more of their scenes together. Their time together is brutally brief to the point that their separation and reunion doesn’t make much of an impact. Nevertheless, My Name is Loh Kiwan is a touching romance with stunning upfront performances and a heartwarming story.

Music and Other Departments?

My Name is Loh Kiwan is written and directed by Kim Hee-jin. Despite being a slow burner every which way, not once do you feel the attention drifting away from the couple and the characters onscreen. Lim Won-gun’s camera work and colour choices are reminiscent of some old school gloomy Korean romances like Lee Chang Dong’s Oasis.

Highlights?

Performances Screenplay

Drawbacks?

Not a work-for-all romance

Rushed third act

Did I Enjoy It?

Yes

Will You Recommend It?

Yes

My Name is Loh Kiwan Movie Review Review by Binged Bureau

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