Gong Yoo and Park Bo-Gum study in “Search engine optimisation Bok” what it means to be human
Gong Yoo plays a man who is supposed to protect the clone of Park Bo-gum.
International film festival Fantasia
How do you measure the value of a life? This question has been asked since the beginning of time and the Greek philosopher Aristotle answered it with the words: “We live in deeds, not in years; in thoughts, not in breaths; in feelings, not numbers on a dial. ”Little did Aristotle know that one day science might create a clone like Seo Bok, the subject of the film Seo Bok, which is currently being screened at the Fantasia International Film Festival.
While Seo Bok isn’t technically immortal, he’s immune to human disease and aging. Scientists want to use it to give some people a certain level of immortality, but treat Seo Bok as a mere specimen and less than a human. As a specimen it is very valuable, which is why conflicting forces want to steal it, no matter how many human lives it costs.
To protect Seo Bok, a seedy government agency hires Ki-hun, a man whose days are numbered because of a brain tumor. In return for protecting Seo Bok, they offer Ki-hun the chance to be a guinea pig in their experiments and receive a possible cure for his cancer. Ki-hun doesn’t want to die, but he’s also lost some of his livelihoods and feels like his death sentence is well deserved.
While trying to get Seo Bok to a safe place, the convoy is attacked and Ki-hun must fight to save him. Although he initially considers his protégé to be not entirely human, he feels protective of Seo Bok.
Gong Yoo plays Ki-hun convincingly with the weary desperation of a man haunted by past deeds, a man whose only moral compass is to remain loyal to the security forces for whom he committed those deeds. Park Bo-gum plays Seo Bok with the candor and sweetness of a child. Seo Bok has lived a sheltered life and really has no idea how the world works and asks Ki-hun endless questions to find out what is right and wrong. He quickly realizes that his existence is problematic.
The science fiction thriller offers the required number of exciting action scenes and shows Seo Bok’s particular paranormal powers, but director Lee Yong-ju’s film is strongest when it focuses on the relationship between the two men, the man who is dying, and the man who could live forever. Whose life is most important? Between them, they must decide whether life is measured in deeds or in years.
Both Gong Yoo, who starred in the television drama Goblin and the film Train to Busan, and Park Bo-gum, who starred in the drama Record of Youth and the film Coin Locker Girl, are popular actors in Korea. They provide another compelling example of their talent and attraction in this film.
The film’s release in Korea was delayed due to COVID and eventually hit theaters in April 2021, where it was number one in the box office on opening day. Seo Bok is currently being screened On Demand at the Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs through August 25, 2021. The festival shows several Korean films including Midnight, The Devil’s Deal, Josée and Fighter.