Rabbit and Lizard ~ Review
“You’re always there when i am in pain.
And i don’t even know you.”
Rabbit and Lizard isn’t an ordinary movie and definitely not one you’ll watch to amuse yourself or just for the sake of watching something while relaxing. If you’re a fan of Jang Hyuk or Sung Yu Ri is a big plus itself, but the key which unlocks the door to enjoying this ride is no other than being in the right mood for a slow-paced and artistic movie based on ambiance and interlocked characters.
Having been adopted abroad and after 23 years of living in the US, May or Lee Won Sun (Sung Yu Ri) managed to return to Korea in order to find out about her past and uncover the mystery that lives along with her as a lizard-resembling scar on her shoulder. Once she gets off the airport she meets a taxi driver, Eun Seol (Jang Hyuk), whose days are numbered due to a rare case of cardiac arrhythmia which prevents his heart from beating for a few seconds. It could be fatal anytime and he keeps living day by day in search of his red rabbit. Under circumstances, Won Sun and Eun Seol keep finding one another in a wide variety of crossroads until one day they start walking upon an intertwined pathway.
Rabbit and Lizard adheres to a minimalist approach and through its seemingly simplistic flow it manages to add color and meaning to its demanding palette. It’s all about a certain ambiance upon which everything is being structured in slow pace as it depicts the daily schedules of two people solely and through interactions. Rabbit and Lizard was never meant to overrun one with intensity or an unnecessarily exaggerating visualization of a character’s internal world.
Rabbit and Lizard’s very soul and essence keeps shining through silence as we secretly witness two characters’ concerns to an extent that will neither overburden nor leave us in the dark. As a movie, it maintains a golden balance on what should be told and what shouldn’t while everything turns to life before our very eyes through a limited use of camera angles while emphasizing on a surrounding atmosphere-evoking cinematography.
The cinematography is as natural as it can get during daytime, but when night falls it gets to unfold its very own magic through a dim yet warm sense of lighting or through the absence of it. Rabbit and Lizard is like a twofold yet related personal documentary on the road as it doesn’t focus on the same place for too long . On the contrary, it’s almost always on the run while still taking its time to unfold and it gives you the impression as if you were closely following its two figures from their starting point to their vague yet intriguing destination with all the layovers in between.
The soundtrack pieces that appear from time to time are simplistic, but they are emotionally charged in their own soothing way as they underline the scene’s current atmosphere and the way it is related to a character’s internal world. Setting aside the overall ambiance, the acting factor was crucial for Rabbit and Lizard since it could turn it into an indifferent and eventually dry movie, but that’s not the case here.
Jang Hyuk would give voice to a hilarious line even if the whole world was collapsing and that’s what he does in Rabbit and Lizard. There’s nothing humorous throughout the movie’s flow, but a few of his lines manage to brighten the overall mood even if it lasts just for a few seconds. His presentation of a casual figure at the verge of dying through Eun Seol’s weaknesses, problems and concerns through a simplistic yet meaningful prism is what makes Jang Hyuk shine effortlessly by simply being natural and human.
Jang Hyuk’s other half in Rabbit and Lizard, Sung Yu Ri, was equally moving in Lee Won Sun’s presentation. Her silence was as loud as her thoughts which were either being presented in a narrative tone or through her emotional world which was being carved upon her seemingly neutral but deeply meaningful face. Sung Yu Ri’s attempts to color her character’s grey horizon were representative of everything Lee Won Sun preserved.
Without being verbose or poetic, Rabbit and Lizard is the subtle yet meaningful journey of two broken figures inside their personal grey zones which occasionally darken or humbly vibrate in the crossroads of life.