Milwaukee Film Festival 2016: Right Now, Wrong Then
By Devvon Eubanks
Alternate universes and different timelines are interesting concepts of potential opportunities not taken, but what if a specific event had different outcomes? What if a chance encounter with a love interest or friend could be totally different in another realm of life? “Right Now, Wrong Then” explores this idea through the eyes of film director Ham Cheon-soo (Jae-yeong Jeong). Traveling to Suwon in South Korea to participate in a screening of one of his films, Ham soon encounters a pretty young artist named Yoon Hee-jeong at a nearby temple. Having some free time before a lecture the following day, Ham decides to spend the day with Hee-jeong and the two get to know each other fairly well, eventually leading to a slight romance. But while the love story unfolds in one sequence, the story repeats again with a completely different course and outcome. The presentation of the film is simplistic and the story is easy to follow. Director Sang-soo Hong takes a lot of time to establish the settings that these characters visit with drawn out shots and keeping camera movement to a minimum. The film also gives nice musical interludes every time scenes change. However, because of this level of camera work, the flow of the overall story is slow and steady, with the action taking a while to build up. There are about eight to ten locations per sequence and the characters spend a lot of time in these settings, asking questions and gettingcloser emotionally as a pair. Hong shows the audience the unfolding of a typical romantic relationship, with Ham and Hee-jeong’s first contact, getting coffee together, moving to a sushi bar, and ending the night with them going their separate ways. This is a perfect film for a date night between couples as the viewers could relate to how these two interact together. Conversely, the slower pacing and lengthy talks could bore them to death if they are expecting a film with a lot of action, profound characters, or deep emotional and intellectual themes. When viewed as a whole, “Right Now, Wrong Then” is a plain and simple love story that doesn’t require a lot of thought, but doesn’t bring anything new to the world of romance.