Double Patty – Review

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Among the general audience, maybe Double Patty is not very familiar. Naturally, because the work of director / scriptwriter Paek Seung-hwan is indeed not a high profile title, nor is it a giant box office, with a total gain of around 15 thousand viewers (of course there is a pandemic influence), before being released to streaming services. But for some people (including me), this film has more meaning, considering Bae Joo-hyun alias Irene, the leader of the group Red Velvet, made his big screen acting debut. Best Movie Site

Irene plays Hyun-ji, who is struggling to reach her goal of becoming a news anchor, working at a 24-hour burger restaurant. Meanwhile, Woo-ram (Shin Seung-ho) is a ssireum (traditional South Korean wrestling) athlete whose life is falling apart after the death of his mentor. Quitting being an athlete, Woo-ram does odd jobs, including as a bouncer at a gay nightclub. Until one night Woo-ram visits Hyun-ji restaurant, and we know how it goes.

Double Patty
Double Patty

I appreciate how patient Seung-hwan spent nearly the first hour building the background of the two main characters, before uniting them. An hour that flows in medium tempo, with minimal conflict erupting without seeming flat. The goal is of course to first establish a connection between the audience and each character, so that when the romance finally starts, we can hope for the best for both of them.

But there is one problem. Big problem. The script is confused about how to use the first act. Seung-hwan doesn’t seem to know what to describe, as if he was piling up scene after scene, as a result, the plot seems to have no definite purpose. Imagine someone who suddenly wants to go to the beach, then is desperate to invite some friends to go together without a plan, without knowing the details of the road, and hasn’t even decided which beach to visit. So he walked erratically, repeatedly lost, and when he finally arrived, maybe his friends were too tired and didn’t care about the beach anymore. We, as spectators, are friends. Movie Review

Sometimes the pacing feels draggy, it lasts too long at one point, but on other occasions, it feels rushed, where various important elements as the foundation of the characterization, just pass by. What a mess. An hour passed, and I still felt strange about Hyun-ji and Woo-ram. In fact, there is the potential to tell a story full of meaning, about women who feel alone and men who lose their enthusiasm due to grief. Both of them have dreams, and after finding each other, they get the desire to achieve that dream again.

There are times when watching, I feel like I’m watching a 16 episode drama (aka about 16-24 hours) which has been whittled down to 107 minutes. The only help comes from Hyun-ji and Woo-ram’s moments together. The two players were not equipped with adequate characterization, but were able to deliver solid enough chemistry, through a series of pleasant chats accompanied by bottles of soju.

Double Patty reaches its best point, each of the two main characters together on one screen. Unfortunately (unexpectedly) it rarely happens. They are more often separated, even to the conclusion that should be the peak of emotion and romance. It is true that prior to the third act, the decision to separate the two has a purpose, namely to show how these two individuals “finish with themselves” first, before being ready to complement each other. But this narrative point can only be reached if the bond between them is strong, which is not the case, because practically at that time Hyun-ji and Woo-ram had only spent one night together. Top Movie

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