The opening scene of Cho Chang-ho’s sleep inducing film “The Peter Pan Formula” is one of the coolest I’ve seen in a while. A group of Korean swimmers are shown in various stages of training. The shots vary from really cool tracking to 70’s style fast zooms in and out. The scene ends with the swimming coach telling his ace swimmer Han Soo that he could be one of the finest Asian swimmers ever. Han Soo then swims to the bottom of the pool and stays down there for a really long time, swimming around, floating and then sitting at the bottom of the pool. It’s so cool and languid and…weird. Unfortunately the rest of the film goes from that to being boring, confusing and annoying. At least it stays somewhat weird.
Shortly after Han Soo’s swimming exhibition, he learns his mom has tried to commit suicide by drinking poison but she failed. Now she’s in a coma and Han Soo starts to act out. He steals a neighbors white panties. He starts to don a nylon stocking and rob liquor stores after busting them up. He runs through town as fast as he can alot. Luckily he eventually returns the cotton panties and manages to convince the neighbor to get him off through a series of hand jobs. Everyone likes a hand job but unfortunately this neighbors technique is strikingly similar a person using a golf ball washer on the eighth green. She does it with similar enthusiasm as well.
This film is slow and that’s not normally a problem for me. Slow is good when it leads into something interesting happening. Or if it has interesting camera work. Neither happens with “The Peter Pan Formula.”
Instead we get a sort of “400 Blows” Korean style mixed with some creepy mommy fantasies as Han Soo gives his comatose mother frequent sponge baths and lingers far too long on her nether regions. I think director Cho Chang-ho was trying to get at something, unfortunately I have no idea what that something was.