Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
We look at 'Fantasia' in a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast!x
review, Swing Kids, Swing, Kids, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Doh Kyung-Soo, Jared Grimes, Park Hye-Su, Oh Jung-Se, Kim Min-Ho, Ross Kettle, A.j. Simmons, Song Jae-Ryong, Lee Kyu-Sung, Lee Da-Wit, Kang Hyoung-Chul, Drama, Music

SEUWINGKIZEU

★★★★

A WAR FILM IN ITS OWN LEAGUE

KOREAN FILM FESTIVAL IN AUSTRALIA REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Ashley Teresa
6th September 2019

Going into a film about war, one can assume that heartbreak, violence and tension will feature in spades. It is because of this expectation that a film like ‘Swing Kids’ is such a breath of fresh air; it manages to contain all of those things, all while maintaining a charming air of whimsy and optimism. It’s almost like director Kang Hyeong-cheol (‘Sunny’) let the wholesome mood of ‘Sing Street’ bleed into a war film, for better and for worse.

Set in a prison camp during the Korean War in 1951, ‘Swing Kids’ focuses on the charismatic soldier Ro Ki-soo (Do Kyung-soo, ‘Room No.7’). Initially pushing back on the “Yankee culture” bleeding into the camp, he soon encounters American officer Jackson (Jared Grimes, ‘The Marc Pease Experience‘), who has been tasked with forming a tap dancing group to entertain the prisoners of war and help them pass the time, bringing together an unlikely oddball group (Oh Jung-se, ‘Pretty Romance’, Park Hye-su, ‘Will You Be There?’ and Kim Min-Ho). Each member has their own reasons for joining the group, but are all united by a love for dance.

'SWING KIDS' TRAILER

I have a long-running soft spot for films with inherent senses of rhythm, or those where music is vital to the film’s DNA. ‘Swing Kids’ is overflowing with such energy, which manages to alter its shape as the film progresses through lighter moments to more violent ones. Watching Ro Ki-soo reluctantly fall in love with tap dancing is absolutely the highlight of the film (one particular scene involving rhythmic teeth grinding echoing a tap routine sticks out to me as the exact moment I fell in love with this film). A golden rule of filmmaking is "show, don’t tell", and ‘Swing Kids’ excels at showing how Ro Ki-soo lets music and passion flow through him and out of his feet. It’s shocking that a Korean film manages to borrow so much from classic Hollywood musicals and pulls it off with such ease; insane weaving camera work and long takes are used in spectacular fashion during the dance routines. The film should also be congratulated for its fantastic editing; there are plenty of cuts during major dance scenes that match the frenetic energy of the characters, but shots are also held long enough that the artistry of the routines can be appreciated. One particularly fantastic scene achieves this by intercutting two different dance scenes while David Bowie’s 'Modern Love' plays over both. For the film's first half, one could be forgiven for thinking ‘Swing Kids’ is simply a straight-up feel-good film.

It’s shocking that a Korean film manages to borrow so much from classic Hollywood musicals and pulls it off with such ease.

Unfortunately, my praise cannot extend as much into the film’s darker moments where the realities of war set in, which become more and more frequent as the third act begins. While the film tries its best to balance its wide range of tones, it does feel like the director is at times trying to force two magnets of the same pole to stick together. The leap from lighthearted moments into ones of extreme violence feel jarring and, in some parts, unearned. This may be by design to amplify how suddenly the prisoners of war can be thrust from peace into violence, but the film doesn’t quite land this well enough to make it believable, as it sets itself up for an all-out emotional assault of a finale. Even if the film doesn’t entirely pull the switch off, by this point each character has wormed their way into your heart, and as a result, the film is equal parts exhilarating and heartbreaking.

‘Swing Kids’ should be commended for its ambition, even if it doesn’t always manage to juggle all its balls as well as wants to. Is it the best film to come out of Korea this year? No, that title belongs to festival darling ‘Parasite’. But is it one of the most affecting experiences I’ve had with a film this year? Absolutely.

FAST FACTS
AKA: Swing Kids
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 2h 13m
CAST: Doh Kyung-Soo
Jared Grimes
Park Hye-Su
Oh Jung-Se
Kim Min-Ho
Ross Kettle
A.j. Simmons
Song Jae-Ryong
Lee Kyu-Sung
Lee Da-Wit
DIRECTOR: Kang Hyoung-Chul
PRODUCER: Lee An-Na
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Korean Film Festival in Australia reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
The Personal History of David Copperfield - A rhapsodic delight on taking ownership of our own stories
TRENDINGTHE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELDA rhapsodic delight on taking ownership of our own stories
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Romantic Road - Falling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
TRENDINGROMANTIC ROADFalling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
Over the Limit - A real-life psychological thriller
TRENDINGOVER THE LIMITA real-life psychological thriller
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2020 - The reviews
TRENDINGMELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL 2020The reviews
Leaving Allen Street - Following residents out of institutional care and into our hearts
TRENDINGLEAVING ALLEN STREETFollowing residents out of institutional care and into our hearts
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
Scheme Birds - A gritty journey to adulthood in Scotland
TRENDINGSCHEME BIRDSA gritty journey to adulthood in Scotland
Flying High - Still landing jokes 40 years after take-off
TRENDINGFLYING HIGHStill landing jokes 40 years after take-off
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
Waves - High school misery porn drowned by its aesthetic
TRENDINGWAVESHigh school misery porn drowned by its aesthetic
Waterloo - An epic recreation of the legendary battle
TRENDINGWATERLOOAn epic recreation of the legendary battle
The Big Trip - Should have stayed at home
TRENDINGTHE BIG TRIPShould have stayed at home
Double Lover - Softcore pornography for cinephiles
TRENDINGDOUBLE LOVERSoftcore pornography for cinephiles
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
Buffy - A 20th anniversary love letter
TRENDINGBUFFYA 20th anniversary love letter
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us