Korean superstars Han Seok Kyu (SHIRI, Christmas In August) and Cannes Best Actress Award winner Jeon Do Yeon (Secret Sunshine, Happy End, Harmonium In Memory) star in this absorbing drama inspired by the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film You've Got Mail. Dong-Hyan
Top customer reviews
CONTACT is an excellent sci-fier based on a Carl Sagan story and directed by Bob Zemeckis that deftly considers not only the possibility of life elsewhere but also both sides of the eternal debate on whether there's a Divine Being.
It stars Jodie Foster as a scientist who tenaciously clings to her SETI explorations despite obstacles and resistance from her boss (Tom Skerritt). Just before the plug is pulled and Foster's Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence team is evicted from Socorro, NM's Very Large Array radio astronomy observatory, they get a hit. Monitored signals originating from the Vega constellation send a mix that includes a 1936 TV broadcast from Nazi Germany of the Berlin Olympics, the first high-powered signals of such a type. These apparently took 26 years to reach Vega, and 26 years to be bounced back.
Not as a criticism of the plot, but this raises a question in my mind. I know little of physics, so it'll probably sound as dumb as I am on the subject. If there's nothing in the universe that's perpetual, including energy, how can a radiowave, which is a sort of energy (yes?), travel billions of miles without dissipating?
Anyway, news of this discovery brings out the lunatic fringe, each group converging on Socorro, all with different agendas. Most amusing are the Chevy Vega car clubs; most frightening, some scruffy Neo-Nazis and a raving "end-of-the-world" proselytizer.
When sub-frequncies are unscrambled and a language decoded, scientists are able to construct a one-person craft (from instructions sent by an unknown ET) that will instantly transport a passenger across the universe. Unseen events occur and Jodie is the one selected to make this voyage.
A "traveling through a wormhole" sequence is terrific and quite scary. Jodie arrives safely on a planet somewhere in Vega. The next scene is so obviously foreshadowed early in the film the alert viewer is expecting it, and yet I found the experience to be very emotionally stimulating. In hindsight, it occurred to me that we were SUPPOSED to know what's coming. Not being caught off-guard is what makes the moment so satisfying.
Bottom line is: I love this movie. See it, by ALL means!
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(7.3) Contact (1997) - Jodie Foster/Matthew McConaughey/Tom Skerritt/James Woods/David Morse/William Fichtner/Angela Bassett/John Hurt/Rob Lowe/Jake Busey (plus TV personalities Larry King, Jay Leno, Robert Novak, Bernard Shaw and Bryant Gumbel)
The Contact is the story of two people, each involved in their own forlorn love triangles, who meet on the Internet and slowly build a friendship acting as advice-givers to one another. They share the same space onscreen several times without knowing it because neither one knows what the other looks like. Comparisons have been made to You've Got Mail which came out a year after The Contact, but beyond the, uh ... internet connection, there's not much else in common. You've Got Mail was a romantic comedy, which suited the actors starring in it, while this film sports a somber quality, more suited to the actors starring in it. Do-yeon Jeon has a wistful glamor about her that comes from the inside, and Suk-kyu Han, who plays the male lead, has a "woe is me" air about him that is not the least bit amusing and comes off as a little introspectively self-important.
There is about three minutes of (in)-action just before the end of this film in which you will hate Han's character for the decision he seems to be making and the effect it has on Jeon's character. If there were a little more plot substance to account for his inaction, well ... there'd be a little more plot substance.
It's substance that this film lacks in the overall, especially in Han's character. He's a radio show producer who is always being reprimanded for inserting 20 minute songs into the playlists. He receives an anonymous package one day that contains a Velvet Underground album which becomes the link between our protagonists. Han is convinced his long lost love sent it to him but doesn't know why. He plays "Pale Blue Eyes" from the album and receives a request via the internet the following night for the same song, and that's how he connects with Jeon.
Han contacts the person, Jeon, who made the request, hoping it is his old flame or someone who knows her and made the request on her behalf. Jeon lies and says she knows the person Han is looking for. As that little fiction plays out, so do the characters' back stories.
Han's long lost love broke up with him many years ago and fell for his best friend, an army buddy. When the army buddy is killed in an accident, Han thinks the girl will come running back to him, (now that the competition is dead!) but Han is somehow implicated in the cause of the accident and a tangled web is weaved. Han also deals with internal office politics complicated by a beautiful woman who becomes his main writer for the radio show and an emotional distraction.
Jeon, on the other hand, marches forward emotionlessly after her unrequited true love falls for her best friend and roommate instead of her. While Jeon's love triangle plays out a little more interestingly than Han's, it's the emotionlessness of her character, which isn't cold and unkind, but sympathetic and sad, manifested in her inability to cry, that we come to focus on. In a train wreck of plot development, Jeon is driving her car the night Han first plays "Pale Blue Eyes." She witnesses a terrible accident, but it is the song, not the tragedy, that almost makes her cry. Hence her request to hear the song again. She wants to cry.
The Korean film's plot was made more complicated to this viewer, as train tickets, movie stubs, and other written materials are passed around without translation. Even without a good story or all the facts to go on, I was swept away by Jeon's portrayal of a woman who wants to find love but must discover first what it might look like. She's a tremendously skilled and nuanced actress. I recommend this film for those looking for a night of romance rental theater or a romantic character-study piece.
Some people have mistakingly called this a remake of YOU'VE GOT MAIL (which is a remake of SHOP AROUND THE CORNER and IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME). It isn't. The main characters in both films communicate via the internet (email in the American film, instant messaging in the Korean film). But otherwise, the plot is entirely different.