Sunday, March 22, 2015

Movies: Someone Else

Disclaimer - this review may not be objective, since I backed the movie on Kickstarter and talked with the cast and crew (they were all very nice) before and after seeing the film.

At this year's Miami International Film Festival, I attended the world premiere of "Someone Else," a film written and directed by Nelson Kim. The movie starts off as a fairly standard "town mouse and country mouse" story, but things rapidly spin out of control thanks to drugs, deceit, and depression:

Aaron Yoo ("Disturbia," "21") plays Jamie, a shy law student who moves to New York City for a summer associate job. Jamie stays in the apartment of his suave entrepreneur cousin, Will (Leonardo Nam), and is at first entranced by the magic of the big city. But when he meets a mysterious woman named Kat (Jackie Chung), his pursuit of her, and what she represents, threatens to destroy him.

"Someone Else" is Nelson Kim's debut feature, but it doesn't feel like it. The movie is shot and directed skillfully, with some fun mirror scenes and good moody lighting throughout.  The three stars also put in fine performances, especially as the tension rises between the naive Jamie and his brash cousin. Though the stakes in the movie are rather intimate and familial, Aaron Yoo's pained facial expressions keep it from feeling trite.

The major problem I had with "Someone Else" was plotting; not much really happens in the way of action, and even at 72 minutes, the story seemed slight. I also felt that some of the dramatic twists near the end were a bit unfair to the audience, and were not executed as well as other similar films. Overall though, this is a solid first outing that will resonate with anyone who's ever felt dislocated upon moving to a new place.

Rating: 7/10


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