There’s a fine line between the Method Actor and the Schizophrenic – Nicholas Cage
Can a person get caught into a web of his own emotions? Can an actor get so lost in his character, that his own feelings become supplanted by the role he portrays? These were the questions in my mind as I watched this thrilling yet dangerous love story unfold between the two strong yet stubborn main characters. Method is an emotional journey that betrays the forbidden romance between the experienced actor Jae Ha and flippant yet reluctant idol Young Woo.
Director Pang Eun-Jin has effortlessly created a universe where these two characters converge, and their emotional attachment leads to disastrous consequences. Park Sung-Woong’s Jae Ha draws on your attention while Yoon Seung-Ah’s Young Woo leaves you deeply wounded. Two totally different personalities who unknowingly get entwined in each other’s lives.
—Co-Authored by @bestwishes1986
—Edited by TheFNGee
Park Sung-Woong portrays the role of seasoned Method actor Jae Ha. His ability to transform into the character roles he plays is discerning. His role entirely consumes him, and that defines his success. As such, he is a highly revered theater artist.
Oh Seung-Hoon plays the role of popular idol Young Woo. He is initially disinterested in becoming a part of the Theatre play. Young Woo’s attitude changes when he notices Jae Ha’s passion for theater and is inexplicably drawn to him.
Hee Won is portrayed by Yoon Seung Ah, Jae Ha’s long time girlfriend. She is sweet, gentle, and entirely supportive of his dedication to Theatre. Her life changes in the face of his affair, and she reigns in control to bring Jae Ha back to reality.
Set in the backdrop of Theatre, Method follows the journey of veteran actor Jae Ha. He is highly dedicated to his method acting skills and newcomer Young Woo’s arrogant attitude grates on his nerves. Their two-person stage play “Unchain” wouldn’t be a success until Young Woo shows even a minuscule amount of interest. Faced with Young Woo’s constant apathy towards the stage play, Jae Ha grabs hold of him and performs his lines with conviction. Young Woo is frozen and cries, feeling Jae Ha’s raw emotions. He responds and thus begins their journey. His disregard for acting gives way to a new interest, and he seeks ways to learn acting. At the same time, he also develops feelings for Jae Ha, which makes Hee Won skeptical. Young Woo is intrigued by Jae Ha’s concept of method acting. In the process of learning the art, lines begin to blur, and both of them grow closer. But reality slaps them in the face, and Jae Ha’s makes an unfortunate choice, which bears irrevocable consequences.
Will love conquer all difficulties, or will they fall apart? Was their relationship real or just a farce of their emotions? Was Jae Ha really in love with Young Woo, or was he consumed by his character?
My Thoughts of the Movie
Park Sung-Woong is an enigma, and I’m a huge fan of his chimerical talents. He is truly like his character Jae Ha. I watched him play negative roles with the same elan as he does positive. His villainous character Hwang Deuk-goo in the recent Korean Drama Rugal struck a chord with me because I was amazed by how effortlessly he transformed into the character role he portrayed.
That’s what makes Jae Ha larger than life. He is so dedicated to his art that his reality collides with his imagination. Everything is good until he crosses paths with Young Woo. Young Woo might seem unruly, but the truth is that he is completely vulnerable. At the moment when Jae Ha grabs his arm and transforms into his character, Young Woo is awestruck. His life has been dictated by his agents, and Jae Ha’s passionate approach is shocking to the young idol dry sensibilities. Jae Ha’s raw emotions make him cry, and at that moment, he finally discovers his true call.
Oh Seung-Hoon, despite being a newcomer, is an exemplary actor. He portrays Young Woo with an honesty that makes you connect with him. But at the same time, you fail to understand Young Woo’s true intentions. Like in the scene where he rehearses his lines with Hee Won, you might feel that he is interested in Hee Won. But that’s not true; he is merely intrigued with her. He wants to learn more about Jae Ha’s and seeks to find his answers by observing Hee Won. He keeps his cards closer and plays them well. A truly complicated character!
Method is based less on the nature of their homosexual relationship and more on how two people unknowingly get wrapped into each other lives. Jae Ha’s is an experienced actor, and yet Young Woo surprises him with his honest depiction of Singer. The surprise gives way to attraction and lust. Their safe haven falls apart when Hee Won breaks them apart with a malicious scandal. While Young Woo truly believes in the power of their love, Jae Ha’s uncharacteristic rebuttal breaks his heart and sets them on a journey that forever changes their future.
Park Sung-Woong is on par with his performance of Jae Ha. Oh Seung-Hoon matches up to him, specifically in the latter part of the movie, where he breezes through his transition from newcomer to veteran actor. I was shocked by the transformation, although he puts Jae Ha through hell by planting false ideas into his mind. Hee Won, on the other hand, takes up the mantle of driving a wedge between the couple and yet displays an unwavering devotion to Jae Ha. I was pleased by both their depictions, but that’s what sets this movie truly apart.
Pang Eun-Jin style of filming is unhinged and left me with more questions than answers. Each frame is chosen carefully and choreographs their unusual journey. Jae Ha’s devotion to his art, his wavering emotions when faced with a vulnerable Young Woo, and their passionate romance leaves you wondering whether it was real or an illusion.
Method is a worthwhile watch for the sheer honesty with the characters display their love for each other, the cathartic explosion of emotions, and the dynamics that turn a stage play into success.
Method acting is a unique and difficult style of acting where the person steps into the life of that character. In the Korean drama Method, Veteran actor Jae-Ha is set to begin practicing for a new play written by a close friend. But from the moment his future costar Young-Woo enters his life, everything is thrown to the winds. The two begin an uneasy friendship as they both prepare for their roles. But are they acting or is something more happening?
The film opens with the arrival of Jae-ha for the table read of the new production by his friend and director. It’s telling of how beloved the actor is to this company of actors and stagehands as his arrival causes all of the room to burst into applause. With sparse dialogue to open the film instead, we rely fully on the reactions to what’s happening in the room. It’s an original style of storytelling as I found myself watching body language and the way the faces went from excited to bored and finally annoyed. The actor who once was a singer/rapper is late and getting later by the minute. Even his agent or handler can’t seem to keep him under control or punctual.
Meanwhile, Young-Woo stands on the roof of the building, looking at his fans down below. It’s very clear he is not here because he wants to be but because he is being forced. The film brings that expert level of “It takes a village” and relies on it to show how the cast and crew react to this young man’s complete indifference. Young-Woo sits at the table watching the others but making no effort at all. All under the scrutinizing gaze of Jae-ha.
One of the film’s strengths and weaknesses is its need to rely on showing more than it tells as far as how it delivers the story to the viewer. For instance, I love the woman who turns the page as she pops up throughout the film, but I don’t know who she is or why I should care about her besides the fact that she’s nice. Peppering a film with a lot of fantastic actors is wonderful as long as they have actual names. So if you ever feel lost on who that person is or that person, don’t feel about because you aren’t alone.
Afterward, the director and Jae-Ha watch Young-Woo leave with a parade of screaming fans. Jae-Ha asks the Director to get a new actor who begs him to stay on so he can make a hit and get rich. Throughout the start of the film, I wondered why it felt like Jae-Ha was co-directing the production, and now it’s clear the two consider each other as friends and equals. At the next read, Jae-Ha has had enough of the lackluster performance and physically touches Young-Woo to get a rise out of him and to get him to take things more seriously. The chemistry between the two actors created a wonderful and taut moment of drama as it felt as if Jae-Ha was shaking Young awake from his boredom. I was surprised the director allowed that, but it goes to their friendship that he trusts Jae-Ha that much. As the crew in the room watch the shouting and teaching, I am drawn to the darkness of the set around the actors who, due to perfect lighting, illuminate the close-up shops with their looks of shock, passion and overwhelming awe. Young-Woo is visibly shaken by the moment and brought to tears by the power Jae-Ha’s acting.
At another rehearsal that Young takes seriously, the room is impressed with his conviction. He even offers a change to the script that sounded better. Jae-Ha’s reading of his script ends in shock at how many notes the man noted. The next day Jae-Ha and Young Woo go to find props to use in the play. For Jae-Ha, it allows him to be more in sync with the characters he plays. Hee-Won appears, and the three have a moment. In a rare moment of openness Young Woo tries to show Jae-Ha and Hee-Won he is reading his book from behind tinted glass. Feeling ignored, he sulks in the back seat. Its little things at first that become bigger things in hindsight that makes up the moods for the film. The scene where Young Woo wakes up as Jae-Ha is running and Hee-Won explains it’s a part of the process of method acting to do what you can to train your body to be like the characters. The pair practices lines involving Young ties Hee-Won’s feel. As the practice grows more and more borderline upsetting and tense because of the script, Hee-Won uncomfortable from the darker tone of Young’s words unties herself. Next, the two act out a real scene from the movie, and it’s a wonderful achievement of how the camerawork is suddenly in hyper-focus, and the lightning is just right as the two men deliver intimate and powerful lines from the script. Their actions during the scene grow more intimate until they are about to kiss, but Hee-Won is sitting beside the director. Her face says it all, something is going on between the two men in her eyes, but you can see her forced expression. She felt the magnetic pull of the two men towards one another. Young watches the smile Jae-Ha gives Hee-Won.
Jae-Ha becomes confused as his attraction to Young grows. He spends less time at home. Snaps at his director and works out to the point it’s painful. In a rehearsal scene, he takes his frustration out on Young to the point the young man bleeds. That evening he leaves his bed and walks to the theater and meets Young there by chance. They act out their scenes in the dark and embrace. Unbeknownst to the pair, and no, it doesn’t make sense. Hee-Won is somehow there and watches the two men kiss in the dark.
The music here has done what it’s done for the whole film but perfectly accentuating the drama of the moment. Hee-Won is a quiet woman with lines that always cut to the heart of scenes. Now I am all for metaphoric lines in a script but taking a woman who never spoke in one up to this point. Jae-Ha goes for a run, and somehow Young Woo is waiting at the end of it. I wonder how Young knew where to be. Within moments the pair are kissing in a storeroom, completing the act of adultery. While two enjoy a one-day romantic vacation, which is ruined by the manager of Young who caught them. How did the pair of men know where to go? Because Hee-Won tipped them off after seeing all the posts on Instagram. The two men yank Jae-Ha out of the car and take off with Young while Hee-Won berates Jae-Ha, who doesn’t defend himself or his actions.
A press conference is called to put out the fires started by a photo being leaked. Jae-Ha lies and says it was all acting while Young looks heartbroken. The part that kills me is Jae-Ha the whole movie is this man of passion and conviction who just found what could have been love. But he wasn’t strong enough to face public scrutiny. Arriving at the playhouse the next day, still, in a daze, Jae-Ha is accused by the manager of Young Woo of hiding him, stating he didn’t come home last night. The director chases them off. Back at home, Hee-Won discovers books on the floor and an open door. The scene jarringly switches to Jae-Ha in full costume and makeup. The gruesome play, which is amazing to watch, goes off with only the spiraling madness of Jae-Ha, as Young implies Hee-Won is dead.
The parallels of the play and their real lives should have been glaring warning signs to anyone, but the offensive play continues, and the acting is wonderful and macabre. The play scene did run a bit long, so unless you really love this movie or these characters, you might find yourself fast-forwarding. When it comes time for the finale, Young Woo purposely doesn’t use the safety harness to hang himself—once saved by miraculous circumstances, a few catty words. The play is a success, and the two men go their separate ways.
Method is an enigma depending on why you choose to watch it. Suppose you’re like me constantly looking for good gay romance will back out and drive away from this film. It’s a beautifully dark essay on the road less traveled and the fear that cripples personal growth. I enjoyed it. The film is smart, at times funny; at times, it does meander on tangents. You have to love the characters to care about it. But it is a well put together and rife with unexpected moment’s film. It doesn’t fall into any tropes and stays original the whole way through. That said, the writing could have been way better. There were deep plot holes and inconsistencies in the ages of the characters that bugged me. Like how old is Young, they call him a boy, but he has a house? Or what were the names of any of the other characters? This is one of those movies that love the main plot but spared no time for the side characters or details, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.
What sets this film apart in my eyes from the countless others is that it wasn’t trying to be anything but a cautionary tale on what happens when you are a coward. Jae-Ha is an aging actor who has found his perfect little world where everyone worships him. Having someone come into that world who didn’t give a damn about him really messed with him. Seeing how happy he was outside of his normal versus inside his theatre bubble was refreshing because for once the grass could have been greener, but he will never know it.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]