Daytime Drinking Young-Seok Noh

Daytime Drinking Young-Seok Noh
With a narrative free of melodrama, focusing instead on the wayward antics of impaired judgment, Young-Seok Noh's surprisingly engrossing debut feature might be best described as a subtler, Korean Smiley Face, sans insights about Garfield loving lasagne. Of course here, instead of Anna Faris consuming a batch of weed-laced cupcakes, we have Hyuk-jin (Sam-dong Song) taking a drunken countryside getaway promise from friends literally, making his way out to the middle of nowhere and discovering that after his buddies had sobered up, they changed their minds. Left to his own devices, he encounters a strange alcoholic young woman that just wants whiskey, another girl convinced that sharing music connects the human spirit and a truck driver with homosexual inclinations. Appropriately titled, Daytime Drinking is a comedy of errors that mixes absurd sensibilities with a realist vision of drunken socialization in oft-extended takes. It's free of traditional arcs, epiphanies and anything resembling pedagogy — unless we consider the insight of constant excess drinking leading to trouble a moral conviction — which is refreshing and amusing since it is consciously pointless, much like real life. Of benefit also is a deadpan tendency that doesn't rely on exaggerated performances or patronizing direction to communicate the idiosyncrasy of it all, rather it is a matter-of-fact presentation of peculiarity. Even a scene where an unwelcome guest surprises Hyuk-jin in the shower is filmed with stationary camerawork and a reaction of awkward confusion, as opposed to the expected traditional response of immediate horror and quick cuts. It keeps predictability at bay and makes for compelling viewing. The DVD is thin on special features, having a deleted scene and an alternate take of a nightmare sequence, along with a very brief still photography montage, but features a booklet with a director's statement and a foreword that provide some context. (Evokative)