Movie reviews: Birthday, Greta
This South Korean drama takes place in the aftermath of the sinking of the Sewol ferry in 2014 which claimed the lives of many teenage high school students.
It focuses on the story of a family grieving over the loss of their son Su-ho (Yoon Chan-young) as his birthday approaches.
Veteran actors Sol Kyung-gu and Jeon Do-yeon are convincing as mourning parents, but the issue with Birthday lies in its script.
Su-ho is barely a character in the film, getting only three vignettes dedicated to his life, leaving the audience unable to fully empathise with his parents' loss.
Birthday promises to be a tearjerker, but does not live up to it.
There are stirring moments, but none truly elicit the desired emotional response.
Unfortunately, it is a lot of wasted potential.
- JOHN TAN
This psychological thriller revolves around a young waitress (Chloe Grace Moretz) who encounters the titular eccentric French piano teacher (Isabelle Huppert) after returning the latter's handbag.
Greta is B-movie schlock, but still manages to tell a somewhat entertaining story.
Special mention goes to award-winning French veteran Huppert, who brings a quiet intensity to the role as she toes the line between sinister and sympathetic.
Despite her strong performance, the movie suffers from plot contrivances that seem a little too convenient.
At the same time, an unexpectedly gory escape attempt sees characters making some questionable decisions.
Greta will not break any genre conventions, but it is a pretty package.
It comes with an unsettling score and direction by Oscar winner Neil Jordan that is both uncomfortable and claustrophobic. - JOHN TAN
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