"In Korea, there are rules for getting drunk... Rule 1 - 'never refuse the first drink...'"
To cheer him up after being dumped by his girlfriend, Hyuk-jin’s friends suggest going on a trip to Jeongseon together the following day. However, when Hyuk-jin (Song Sam-dong) arrives at Jeongseon bus station the next morning, his friends are nowhere to be seen and, on phoning one of them, Ki-Sang (Yuk Sang-yuep), to find out where they are, he discovers that they were all too hung over from the previous night's drinking to make the journey.
Ki-sang suggests that Hyuk-jin should travel to a nearby guest house, check in for a couple of nights and just enjoy himself until he can join him there in a day or two, but the more people Hyuk-jin meets along the way, the more the alcohol invariably flows, and the worse his nightmare becomes...
Most of us can honestly say that we've had one of 'those' days where, no matter what we try to do, absolutely everything seems to continually and successively conspire against us. However, few of us could say, hand on heart, that we're as unlucky as Hyuk-jin, who seems to be having one of those weeks, months or even lives. While he initially appears to regularly be just an unfortunate victim of circumstance (and an overindulgence of booze), Hyuk-jin's problems are, in fact, almost as much of his own making as of anyone or anything else. You see, Hyuk-jin is a sucker for a pretty face and will routinely throw caution to the wind, with hardly a second thought, in the hope of making the connection he so desperately needs, regardless of the likely (or unlikely) consequences of his choices.
Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, his self esteem is seriously low resulting in him finding it increasingly difficult to say no to that 'dangerous' first drink and his repeated daytime drinking, while not the only cause of his problems, certainly exacerbates his vulnerability - the combination directly leading to the predicaments he finds himself in, time and time again.
Not only that, but his predilection for the young and the pretty backfires massively when he meets a less attractive woman, Lan-hee (Lee Lan-hee) - his unthinking, dismissive attitude causing her to not only unleash a torrent of foul-mouthed abuse, but also to turn her back on him when he needs her help most.
As Hyuk-jin's life becomes more and more complicated and difficult, he even starts to believe that his friends are guilty of acting against him and the question gradually becomes whether he will eventually learn his lesson, once and for all, or if he will continue to let himself be drawn into yet more daytime drinking.
Daytime Drinking is an independent film made on a shoe-string budget but the obvious financial constraints within which the filmmakers had to work are never detrimental to the narrative and, in fact, result in some ingenious choices in both direction and cinematography which also actually help to give the film a style somewhat all its own.
The various eccentric, wacky and often downright weird characters Hyuk-jin comes into contact with (as well as the seemingly endless string of increasingly insane situations he finds himself in) within this gently funny road movie are beautifully realised throughout and bring to mind the type of true life, sometimes embarrassing, stories often told in bars by those discussing the goings on and antics of a previous night's drinking.
In fact, in the exclusive UK DVD extras, director Noh Young-seok even details some of the real life incidents on which those in the film were based, while also explaining the etiquette of drinking in Korea.
A plot such as this may seem fairly familiar to many, but Daytime Drinking intelligently and repeatedly sidesteps the obvious, deftly bringing an element of unpredictability to proceedings, on more than one occasion.
A gently playful guitar and organ based musical soundtrack helps this further while ensuring that the overall feel remains light and humorous throughout.
Daytime Drinking's pacing too is fairly gentle, and though it does slow a little in sections showing Hyuk-jin alone with no idea of what he should do, this does allow for a mirroring of what the character himself is going through.
Daytime Drinking is such a gently paced, deeply eccentric and genuinely funny road movie that once you've had even a tiny taste of it, you'll want to drink it to the very last drop.
Song Sam-dong, Yuk Sang-yuep, Kim Kang-hee, Lee Lan-hee, Tak Sueng-jung
edition reviewed here is the UK (Region 2) Inclusionism Single Disc release, provided for review courtesy of Inclusionism. The film itself is
provided as an anamorphic transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and there are no image artifacts (and no ghosting) present.
The original Korean
language soundtrack is provided as Dolby Digital 2.0 and is crisp, clean and well balanced throughout.
Excellent subtitles are provided for the main feature and all of the DVD Special Features.
This is the second DVD release by Inclusionism and, as was the case with the company's first release (Moss), it is the attention paid to even the tiniest of aspects - such as the beautiful, fully animated menus (which are equally as light-hearted as the film itself) - combined with a beautifullly clean transfer and perfect presentation of the main feature, as well as number of exclusive DVD special features, that help to make this yet another superb DVD release.
• Director: Noh Young-seok
• Format: PAL,
Anamorphic, Widescreen, Subtitled
• Language: Korean
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
• Region: Region 2
• Aspect Ratio:
• Number of discs: 1
• Classification: 15
• Studio: Inclusionism
• Run Time: 111 minutes (approx.)
- Nightime Drinking: An Interview with Director Noh Young-seok
- Behind The Scenes: Music Video
- The Art of Pok-tan-ju: Mixing Korean Drinks with Director Noh Young-seok
- Deleted Scenes
- Original Trailer