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Go (2001) – English Review


The beauty and the Korean.

Sugihara is a North Korean teenager who has lived all his life in Japan with his mother and father. Sugihara’s father changes his citizenship from North Korean to South Korean. Sugihara quits his North Korean school and transfers to a regular Japanese school. His old friends from the North Korean school don’t like it. They accuse him of being a traitor. But transferring to a new school brings additional problems. The insult, zainichi, is constantly thrown at Sugihara. Fortunately, Sugihara has an advantage. His father was a former boxer, and he has taught Sugihara to box since he was a little boy. Sugihara can fight, something the students at his new school will experience. One day he meets his first love, Sakurai, and his life looks brighter. But he doesn’t tell her he’s Korean, because he’s afraid she will not like him anymore.

This is my love story, Sugihara tells us at the beginning of the movie. And what a love story it is! We learn it’s difficult to be a Korean teenager in Japan. Go falls into the category of teenage drama. The movie is serious, but you can not help but laugh when the movie turns on the charm.

I love the sequence when Sugihara is taken to the principal’s office after he goes crazy on the basketball court. The first thing his father does when he enters the room is to beat up Sugihara. That scene is a classic, and the icing on the cake is that he’s missing a tooth after getting a hard beating from his father. After the beating, Sugihara’s mother tells him that Sugihara should thank his father for not being expelled from school. This is a wonderful scene that tells us that this is a movie with a lot of charm and comedy. But if you look at the foundation, there’s a focus on human drama and identity problems. Who am I?

Sugihara and his father are the highlights of the movie. They have incredible chemistry in every single scene. The actor who plays Sugihara, Yôsuke Kubozuka, starred in Ping Pong, where he showed what a talented actor he is. The body language he shows with Sugihara is fantastic. You can just look at Sugihara and you feel his frustration and anger, and what it’s like to be Sugihara in Japan.

The movie takes up a topic unknown to me. But the message comes out, and you understand that it’s difficult to be Korean in Japan, even if one feels at home in Japan. You understand and feel the protagonist’s frustration when he doesn’t know who he is since he doesn’t feel welcome in Japan. But this is where he was born, and he hasn’t, as far as I know, visited Korea. And he doesn’t tell the truth to his beautiful girlfriend, so we don’t know how she will cope with the truth. If he tells her his secret.

And then we have the woman I’ve always been in love with after watching Battle Royale, Ko Shibasaki. Perfection is the word I associate with Ko Shibasaki. Look at this beautiful woman! Look at those eyes! She’s just gorgeous. I think I’ve almost seen every movie she has starred in. What a beautiful woman!

If you like teenage drama movies, then this is one of the best movies in this genre. The movie offers fighting, cool music, romance, and an interesting story about what it’s like to be a Korean teenager who doesn’t feel welcome in Japan.

Rating: 10/10

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