Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10
An investigative journalist will stop at nothing to find his son, who was kidnapped three years ago!
South Korean cinema is experiencing another upswing in popularity, and in more than just their Horror department, which is good, because them wacky Koreans can give even the Chinese a run for their money in terms of grand story, amazingly emotional characters, and great use of both practical and special effects. Lucid Dream is a fine example of all of these things together in a movie that could easily be billed as a contender for Nolan’s Inception. The plot concept of wheels within wheels within yet more wheels has long actually been a Korean film mainstay, and so is right up this movies alley.
So the film begins with a kind of fly-by explanation of our main character, Dae-Ho (Go Soo), putting out some kind of giant journalist expose on corruption in business conglomerates, and as a result, a bunch of prominent and powerful men go to jail and vow revenge. We see a loving Dae-Ho with his son, poor apparently anemic child but who still lives to have fun, and despite the very real threats from without and within, they both decide to go to an amusement park together. And almost inevitably, its there at the amusement park that the poor boy gets snatched and ineffectual Daddy Dae-Ho can’t seem to do a thing about it.
Fast forward a bit and its now been approximately three years since the kidnapping, apparently Dae-Ho’s been filling his time with who-knows-what while desperately searching for his son, and he comes across this idea of using his medical technician friends lucid dreaming technology to plumb his own memory for clues. This tech has already been used before and had some serious consequences, condemning the guy called This Man or Kwon Yong-hyun (Park Yu-chun from the K-Pop band JYJ) to a wheelchair in real life but allowing him to all but be The Oracle when it comes to the lucid dreaming stuffs. And yes, kind of roundaboutly, but Dae-Ho does manage to ferret out some clues from his own memories, enough to send him on a new direction at least.
The police detective in charge of the case, Song Bang-seop (Kyoung-gu Sul), has been Dae-Ho’s friend this entire time and has never said one word about the guy being crazy or giving up the search. Detective Song’s own daughter is sickly too, so he has some inkling as to what it means to be desperate with no options left he can see. So, Song doesn’t bat an eyelash as Dae-Ho proceeds to tell him about lucid dreaming hunting, and how he thinks the next places to investigate would be the mobsters whom he crossed with his investigative reporting, who have children with issues similar to Dae-Ho’s own son and are therefore compatible for, you guessed it, rare blood transfusions and the like. It all seems perfectly plausible, but we have to remember the wheels within wheels within yet more wheels, so while this particular lead may not pan out directly, it does point to a new and perhaps entirely unexpected direction for Dae-Ho’s search.
Who did the actual kidnapping of Dae-Ho’s son and why, whether or not the boy is still alive and if so where has he been all this time, and how the lucid dreaming world actually manages to tie into all of it, is surprisingly fairly good and at least possible inside this world. Yes the circular plot has a tendency to recycle some key points, but the visuals and the enthusiasm for which the actors toss themselves into their parts give the film a nice breathless boost.
Dive deep into Lucid Dream on Netflix now!