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Gong Yoo And Park Bo-Gum Learn What It Means To Be Human In ‘Seo Bok’

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 7, 2021

How do you measure the value of a life? That question has been asked the dawn of time and the Greek philosopher Aristotle answered it by saying, “We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not figures on a dial.” Yet Aristotle could not have known science might one day create a clone like Seo Bok, the subject of the film Seo Bok, currently playing at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

While Seo Bok is not technically immortal, he is immune to human disease and aging. Scientists want to use him to grant some humans a degree of immortality, but in the process treat Seo Bok as a mere specimen and less than human. As a specimen he is very valuable, which is why conflicting forces want to steal him, no matter how many human lives it costs. 

To protect Seo Bok, a shadowy government agency hires Ki-hun, a man whose days are numbered due to a brain tumor. In exchange for protecting Seo Bok, they offer Ki-hun a 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 reasons for living and feels as if his death sentence is deserved. 

While attempting to transport Seo Bok to a safe location, the convoy is attacked and Ki-hun must fight to save him. Despite at first thinking of his charge as not quite human, he begins to feel protective toward Seo Bok.

Gong Yoo convincingly plays Ki-hun with the weary desperation of a man haunted by past deeds, a man whose only moral compass is to stay loyal to the security forces he committed those deeds for. Park Bo-gum plays Seo Bok with the candor and sweetness of a child. Having lived a sheltered existence, Seo Bok really has no idea how the world works and asks Ki-hun endless questions, trying to establish what’s right and wrong. He soon realizes that his very existence is problematic. 

The sci-fi thriller features the requisite number of exciting action scenes and displays of Seo Bok’s special 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 might live forever. Whose life matters most? Between them they must decide whether life is measured in deeds or years.

Both Gong Yoo, who starred in the TV drama Goblin and the film Train to Busan, and Park Bo-gum, who appeared in the drama Record of Youth and the film Coin Locker Girl, are popular actors in Korea. They offer another compelling example of their talent and appeal in this film.

The film’s release in Korea was delayed due to COVID and finally reached theaters in April 2021, where it ranked number one in the box office on opening day. Seo Bok is currently being shown On Demand at the Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs through August 25, 2021. The festival features several Korean films, including Midnight, The Devil’s Deal, Josée and Fighter.

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