DVD Review – Boomerang Family (2013)

Oh In-mo (Park Hae-il), a failed director and a failed husband, who is left in debt, finds himself flirting with suicide. Upon fashioning his noose, he receives a text from his mother inviting him for lunch – he accepts her offer and takes it one step further and decides to move in. Upon his return we’re introduced to his older brother Han-mo (Yoon Je-moon), a useless ex-con who spends his days sleeping on the couch. When he finds out his big shot director brother has moved back, he tries his best to get him out.

The brothers soon put their quarrels aside however and find solidarity when their younger sister Mi-yun (Kong Hyo-jin) and her teenage daughter Min-kyung (Jin Ji-hee) move back home after leaving her second husband. With all of these miserable, arrogant siblings under the same roof, their mother must be a saint, right? Well, it turns out that she too has some skeletons in her closet.

Song Hae-sung, director of Failan, delivers his vision of the South Korean dysfunctional family as based on the novel by Cheon Myung-qwan. In a nutshell, Boomerang Family is an amusing, but inadequate family drama. I couldn’t find any real laugh out loud moments in this film, the family is very dysfunctional, and there are some comical cringeworthy moments, but for most part the film is a real downer. You can only really sympathise with the mother, played by Youn Yun-jung. The story does its best to make us feel sympathetic for Han-mo, the first half of the film portrays him as a loyal family dog, but later ruins that image by turning him into a pervert in need of redemption.

The film just didn’t pay off for me as the story goes into the latter half, the twists in the narrative feel a little overbearing and when they spring the surprise happy ending, it didn’t leave me with that warm feeling.

This review is coming across a little negative; did I enjoy any of the film? Of course! I admit there are some great moments with the family; the uncles tormenting their niece for pizza is very amusing. But the moments of solidarity between the siblings is the most entertaining. When the sister starts a fight in a restaurant against a group of guys and the brothers immediately come to their little sister’s aid is quite pleasant to see, and their mother’s reaction in the car coming home afterwards sums it up perfectly.

When it comes to the Special Features on this DVD release we are spoiled! Boomerang Family was the closing film of the 2013 London Korean Film Festival and we’re shown footage of the closing ceremony with Youn Yun-jung, Yoon Je-moon and director Song Hae-sung. We’re also treated to a Q&A after the film as well as an interview with the director and the cast while at the festival. It’s well over an hour of special features which also includes a brief “Making Of” feature, as well as the standard movie trailer for the film.

Overall, I was mildly disappointed with Boomerang Family, but don’t let my review turn away any keen Korean cinema fans out there! Watch it, form your own opinion and tell me I’m wrong!