Some people never have it right. THE DINNER introduces you to a middle class Korean family and a short period of their life, full of hardship. In Cheol is a middle aged older brother of a big family who is struggling to keep it together. Things seem to start falling apart when his sister gets divorced and decides to raise her child alone. That is until the estranged father suddenly shows up to claim the child the family loves so much. Things get worse when the younger brother, In Ho gets involved in an accident and has his client killed. Trying to cover it up he gets tangled in a web of lies and drugs in the whole family with him.
When In Cheol loses his job everyone starts to struggle financially because the elderly parents depend on the money he is giving them. The family only feels happy and at ease with each other when they share a meal - a ray of happiness in a dark world. And it seems the dark days are only just beginning…
The DINNER may deceive you with a lively poster of a light hearted family drama. But there is nothing light hearted about this dark and depressing movie. Shot on a shoestring budget of 100K THE DINNER boasts fantastic performances, solid writing and beautiful almost poetic cinematography, but is also a “bitter pill” which is heard to swallow. While there’s not much happening on screen the movie requires your full attention. In one of the film’s happier moments we are watching a single streetlight waking up, little by little, as if being a messenger of some good news. THE DINNER has many of such hidden gems and you need to watch carefully not to miss them.
There’s a lot to admire in THE DINNER, but do we have to put ourselves through the experience of someone’s suffering without a single ray of hope? Providing us with a slice of life type of storytelling the movie conveys the message that life is a hard road with no choice, but to endure until the bitter end.