***½/**** Image A Sound A Extras A
starring Shin Ha-gyun, Baik Yun-shik, Hwang Jung-min
written and directed by Jang Joon-hwan
by Walter Chaw The first third of hyphenate Jeong Joon-hwan's cinematic debut Save the Green Planet! (Jigureul jikyeora!) is sort of like Fargo if David Fincher had directed it, the second third like Sleuth if Terry Gilliam had directed it, and the final third like a mescaline hallucination, complete with a portly/heroic high-wire artist (Sooni (Hwang Jeong-min) and a swarm of murderous bees thrown into action by a jar of royal jelly. There's a crucifixion, entirely unspeakable and lawless references to 2001 and Blade Runner, and, without warning, a flashback to the unhappy childhood of our hero, Lee (Shin Ha-Kyun), composed with a lyrical sadness that brings a wholly-unexpected tear to the eye. Save the Green Planet! has been shot with scary confidence in a style long on provocative evocation and clarity and short on pyrotechnics for their own sake--something astonishing given that the plot revolves around alien invasion, gruesome torture, serial murder, corporate malfeasance, and Korea's tumultuous recent history. It's indescribable, is what I'm trying to say, but I do know that I was rapt through two screenings, seduced by its sprung logic and affected during its wordless epilogue of a child at play with his parents in a past unrecoverable full of light and love.