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[Herald Review] Unclear message of 'Dog Days' disappoints, but fine acting saves the day

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Jan. 31, 2024 - 11:25

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A scene from A scene from "Dog Days," starring Kim Seo-hyung (left) and Yoo Hae-jin (CJ ENM)

A heartwarming tear-jerker with cute, adorable dogs might just be enough to chase away the February cold.

In "Dog Days," the different stories of the characters gradually converge as the plot progresses.

Renowned architect Min-seo (played by Youn Yuh-jung), who has lost her only family, her beloved dog, embarks on a journey to find the dog. Seon-yong (played by Jung Sung-hwa) and Jeong-ah (played by Kim Yun-jin), a couple who struggle to connect with their newly adopted daughter, find Min-seo's dog, which comes to play a major role in connecting the family members.

Meanwhile, Min-sang (played by Yoo Hae-jin), a building owner who dislikes dogs, constantly clashes with Jin-young (played by Kim Seo-hyung), a vet who runs an animal hospital in his building.

Min-sang reluctantly starts helping rescue abandoned dogs to impress Jin-young and gain access to Min-seo, who plays a crucial role in a project by Min-sang's company, after discovering that Jin-young is on friendly terms with Min-seo.

The film also follows the story of Hyun (played by Lee Hyun-woo), a band leader who unexpectedly becomes responsible for his girlfriend's dog, a golden retriever, when his girlfriend suddenly leaves for Africa.

The film attempts to weave the lives of various characters together, using dogs as the medium.

However, numerous disparate stories involving too many characters make it unclear what the film is ultimately trying to say.

Whether the film aims to promote pet adoption, encourage the establishment of a pet resort, or spur an ethical debate about euthanasia for pets is simply unclear.

What saves the film is the fine acting by veteran actors that makes the film suitable for watching on cold winter nights.

Youn, who plays a cold, distant woman at the beginning of the film, seamlessly transforms into a warm-hearted, mature figure who touches the hearts of the characters around her as well as of the audience with her calm and controlled performance.

Yoo's familiar, idiosyncratic comic acting skills also provide comic relief amid the hectic plot. The surprise guest appearance of a renowned Korean actor further adds to the fun of watching the veteran actors interact with one another.

"Dog Days" will hit local theaters on Feb. 7.

A scene from A scene from "Dog Days," starring Youn Yuh-jung (left) and Yoo Hae-jin (CJ ENM)