BIFF: 10 Minutes 10분 (2013) – South Korea [World Premiere]

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 18th October 2013

Director: Lee Yong-Seung
Writer: Kim Hye-Min
Starring: Park Jong-Hwan, Kim Jong-Goo, Jung Hee-Tae, Lee Si-Won, Jang Liu, Jung Seung-Kil

Reviewed at the World Premiere at 2013 Busan International Film Festival (October 2013)

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“10 Minutes” is a small film, but also strikingly realistic portrayal of early life in the workforce and quite frankly office politics. Films about office politics is nothing new, but newcomer director and student Lee Yong-Seung impresses in his debut feature length film by staying true to its source, purpose and aims. Being simple is not easy and this film shows exactly how difficult it is when you are at the bottom of the chain, whether it is in life or in the workforce. 10 minutes may seem like a short time in the span of our lives, but how often does a split minute decision you make turns out to be the longest in your life and this film defines exactly that.

By casting newcomer Park Jong-Hwan for the lead intern role, Lee strikes gold, as Park is able to show raw emotions, the naivety of one with youthful ambitions and more importantly being real and genuine. The audience may not precisely sympathetic with Park’s character, but it undoubtedly made the film a journey that is fascinating to follow. Park is perfect for the role and his raw and at times native and expressive emotions is fascinating to endure. It is easy for the audience to side and detest from him at the same thing and also realising precisely why he fails to fit in. Ultimately, we have all been Park at some point in our lives, but perhaps without realising. Another newcomer Lee Si-Won shows potential for more things to come. Her sarcastic display, confident screen presence and good looks provides the film with some much needed energy and light. She is neither the villain or the victim, but she portrays the role of someone who in not entirely qualify, but coming in at the expense of more qualify people to pitch perfect condition.

All in all, “10 Minutes” is a nice little gem of a discovery and despite its honest intentions, it is never pretentious and almost always entertaining. Watching people suffer in workforce due to gossips, not fitting in and everything else you can associate is interesting to a degree, but what makes the film stands above the genre convention, is everything seems so realistic and director Lee smartly intervenes his notion of life choices and how one’s decision that is made within 10 minutes can have larger consequences. In essence, “10 Minutes” shows the reality of the workplace and that it is who you know and not what you do that makes the difference. Life choices can be easy or difficult, but most of the time will lead you to an entirely different path. A smart guy once told me, “Just assume you made the best choice and let it go at that. Afterall, you did the best you could with the knowledge you had.” I thinks this ring true with “10 Minutes” as well. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 8/10

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