Friday, July 12, 2013

Film Review: The Tower (2012)

The Tower (Review)
South Korea/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Lee Dae-ho (Kim Sang-kyung) is a single father and manager of the luxurious 120-floor apartment building, Tower Sky. Along with his secret love interest, Seo Yoon-hee (Son Ye-jin), a restaurant manager, Dae-ho has a busy night as an extravagant Christmas Eve party is set to light-up the night. However, a helicopter crashes into the building trapping Dae-ho, his daughter,Yoon-hee and many other guests and tenants in a blazing building.

The Tower is a disaster film. The story takes time to briefly introduce its main characters, including building staff, firefighters, and more. In fact, the first 30 minutes is wisely used to create a feel-good environment with light-hearted humor and a Christmas setting. When disaster strikes, it strikes with incredible force. The disaster takes the center stage for the rest of the film, filling the story with death, sacrifice, and hope. There are some light-hearted scenes that give you a breather from the exciting and emotional-draining scenes; these work well to give the film some heart and variety.

There are some simple scenes that really got me; for example, there's a sequence where firefighters are forced to cancel a rescue mission to save another group... this group turn out to be a wealthy couple on the top of a priority rescue list. Some scenes sent goosebumps through my entire body thanks to the extreme suspense blended with a superb audio/visual presentation; for example, a scene where a glass bridge is the only means to escape had me at the edge of my seat as you can hear the cracking and feel the tension - it could snap any second! The film is filled with memorable scenes like this, up to its bittersweet, albeit predictable, ending.

I can't say The Tower hasn't been done before, but this film still manages to establish its own identity and entertains thoroughly. Compared to other disaster films, particularly Tidal Wave, The Tower excels in everyway thanks to its balanced approach and technical advancements. One note I'd like to make on this topic: The Tower is much more realistic than Tidal Wave, as The Tower features tamed, believable acting and graspable situations; in other words, the overacting is toned down, and no one is dodging dozens of tankers and explosions. (don't get me wrong, I love Tidal Wave. I gave it an 8/10!)

The entire cast deliver realistic and believable performances. Kim Sang-kyung plays the lead in the film, capturing quirkiness well during the first act, and exceptionally captures every other
emotion associated with tragedy during the rest of the film. Son Ye-jin stands out with her very charismatic performance, she's very likable and delivers great emotion. The rest of the performances are equally impressive. The film has great special effects and stunts. The cinematography is beautiful; the film captures its colors, especially the fire, vividly and the lighting compliments the gritty disaster. Visually, the special effects and the cinematography compliment each other to create a beautifully-shot film. The music also compliments the film and the setting, really capturing the holiday mood one moment, and invoking tension during others.

I own the South Korean Blu-ray of this film. The Tower is a slick digipak with one blu-ray disc, covered with a high-quality slipcover. It has English subtitles in both the feature film and the menus for easy navigation; however, the special features do not have English subtitles nor an English dub; on that note, the special features consists of a 30 minute "Making Of", Deleted Scenes, Theatrical and Teaser Trailers, and more. The picture and sound quality are superb, it's a shame this isn't getting released on Blu-ray in the United States; considering the beautiful cinematography and special effects, HD is the definitive way to enjoy The Tower.

Overall, The Tower is a superb disaster film; it features great acting, light-hearted and well-fitted humor, dreadful suspense, beautiful cinematography, and superb music. The Tower has a few disaster movie clich├ęs and the ending is predictable, but it doesn't significantly effect the overall entertainment value of the film. I highly recommend purchasing this film, especially for fans of South Korean and disaster films.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, partial nudity (barely viewable.)

No comments:

Post a Comment