An Actor is an Actor

An Actor is an Actor (2013)

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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,311 users
Reviews: 8 users

Oh Young is a nameless actor who dreams of becoming a big movie star. Then one day, he makes his breakthrough with a film and becomes a star overnight. He discovers a new hidden world of fame, power, and pleasure, but inevitably all things have a dark side, which puts everyone around him in danger.

  • Native title:

    배우는 배우다
  • Also Known as:

    Rough Play; Baewooneun Baewooda

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12 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Mar 29, 2015
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 6.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 6.0
  • Rewatch Value 3.0
This movie was a great disappointment. Kim Ki Duk wrote it in some kind of trance so lost in his own world that it's hard for outsiders to fully grasp his thoughts. And then came Shin Yeon-Shick and took that script way too literally creating a boring, vague mess which dragged starting from the first minute. Acting was quite good though, but I I felt like the script + directing must have read more been way too obscure and there were too many characters so no one really got to show their real potential. Ma Dong Seok was the only one who managed to stand out and literally shine. He is the only one I remember when I think about the movie. Lee Joon did great job, but had too weak of a presence.

The beginning scene and the ending scene are both too long and repetitive, to the point that they have no desired impact. This movie is about a rise and fall of an actor, so it makes a lot of sense to have these almost identical scenes to complete the message. But that theater scene is just way too vague and boring and it barely makes any sense. How I understood it was that Oh Young was talking to himself not the woman. In the beginning the director of the play told him that if he doesn't want to acknowledge his co actress then he should go talk to a mannequin doll that is... to himself.

He talks to the doll, imagines it to be the actress, he wants to go to the beginning and start over on a better note. "I wish we could go to how we were." He is talking to himself, he wants to go back to being himself and get free from the role he had been trapped into. The actress says in the beginning "If we get a chance, I hope we could do it again." So in his imagination he looks for her because he believes that she can help him. She also fell from her position and ended up on the stage of that theater. She was starting over and he was only starting. That's what Oh Young realizes only at the end of the movie when he mentally goes back to that stage. The script is about love, but Oh Young doesn't talk about love, he talks about himself and his own desires. "Getting back together and loving someone" is all about getting himself back to reality and learning to love himself. He finally sees himself in that woman. "I'm not that bad, see?" he tries to convince himself. That's why in the end he finally gets his role right, he finally understands what acting is all about. Not losing yourself but being what you are.

Oh Young is a narcissist and he has no control of himself whatsoever, when he gets into a role he really gets into it for good. After he leaves the theater he gets to play gangsters on the big screens and he becomes that gangster because he gets too immersed into his roles. His only role models were the cocky actors, show business gangsters, and his manager who tries to whore him around. Oh Young gets out of control and lives his life like there are no consequences of anything he does, he rapes women and hangs out with questionable people. He is bad yet I was left wishing that his character would have been darker. His only link to reality is his mother but since he Lee Joon doesn't get deep enough into the darkness the contrast between Oh Young who talks to his mother on Oh Young who has turned bad, that contrast is not strong enough.

At some point, Oh Young meets the gangster who almost makes him sell his life for something scary, Oh Young's cousin saves him, but apparently that was not enough for him to grasp the reality. By the way, notice that the gangster man was the only one who actually respected Oh Young, he is the only one who acknowledges the boy after his fall.

No matter what, Oh Young loves acting and even after falling down he gets up and starts over, even if that means becoming a punching bag again. But now we see that other new actor has become cocky too, immersed in his own fame. Everyone falls in this movie, everyone goes up and down except those on the top, the gangsters and the directors, they stay at their respective places. Actors are just tools to them.

For sensitive viewers, this movie might be too hard of a nut to crack. A lot of people were shocked that Lee Joon's character actually raped someone. Get a grip people, this is a movie about those kind of issues. Pay attention to the summary and warnings. Overall, I fount the script too messy. This film tried to be very artistic but tried too much thus failed miserably. The message was displayed too vaguely but not vaguely enough and at the same time too blatantly but too vaguely to be gritty in a cool way, there was no sensibility whatsoever. So instead of being cool the movie turned out lame. Nothing had an impact and everything just melted into a dull draggy boredom.
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42 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Jan 5, 2014
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
Usually i don't write reviews, but i had to do it for this movie!

I wanted to see this movie because of Lee Joon, his acting in this movie was brilliant, amazing, like let me stand up and clap, you just can't dinied that it was awesome.

i read some comments about this movie, that this movie is a mess, only beating up each other, sex and nothing more.

this movie is read more about how a fame can ruin a life, starting from nothing, becoming something, and in the end again starting from beginning.

if you want to see how good is Lee Joon, then you can watch it, but be ready for a lot of sex scenes and fights.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (3)Recommendations

both are about fame and power. They may be different films but the gist of the plot is almost the same
Recommended by ScarletStar
They both got a lot of fighting scenes and about the main characters that begun from nothing became actors
Recommended by Yume

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Comments (31)

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  • Reply
    Revalina Mariana May 22, 2017


  • Reply
    Tingle May 4, 2017

    I honestly think that this movie doesn't deserve the negative feedback it's getting, cause it's really good. I can understand that some think the sex is a bit too much, and that it's hard to follow. But if you pay attention to it, it really is a masterpiece imo. I don't recommend watching it if you are young and you don't understand mature subjects.. But for someone who has been an actor, I felt very intrigued by this film. It hit hard. I can't really explain what made me love this movie so much.. but do give it a chance.

  • Reply
    GiKnoth Apr 17, 2017

    So much trouble because of the sex content? Am I to understand that if you want to be a popular actor in Korea you need to avoid such scenes? If you are an idol or known for drama roles you must stick to that in order to keep your audience?
    Of course I was aware that many people are drama fans exactly because of the differences compared to western TV... k-dramas are somewhat "innocent". No much foul language and love scenes even with a french kiss are rare. I understand those characteristics may be refreshing and I find it interesting too sometimes. BUT it's hard to believe there's people saying it's "too much" watching an actor do sex scenes or just stating they're not going to watch him anymore. Please! What's actually shocking is reading something like "he is too innocent to do such a movie"... Really?! Well, I don't know, maybe some people think their favourite actors are sacred or some kind of saint and not just a person with a proffesion.

  • Reply
    Nocturna Feb 15, 2017

    That scene in front of the shop (near the end) made me cry... T-T

  • Reply
    Mitsuki Oct 31, 2016

    The silly and meaningless movie I have ever seen .-.

  • Reply
    babybreaths Jun 6, 2016

    didn't have much of a plot but Joon's acting is terrific.

  • Reply
    Sora May 3, 2016

    This movie was dark and crazy.

  • Reply
    Charlott Apr 26, 2016

    I think that the movie lacked structure and was kind of vague. Although I did enjoy it I struggled with keeping up with the plot and the characters. I do think that Joon did a really great job and I found his character intriguing but also kind of inconsistent. Also, I don't really mind the sex scenes, I they contributed to the plot :P.

  • Reply
    Pirado Apr 18, 2016 - edited

    The movie was weird but Lee Joon did an awesome job, his character is a guy obsessed with acting and fame so of course he overreacts to being noticed, and when he is famous is even more pathetic.

    The famous sex scenes were necessary here, of course are unpleasant but they reveil more about Oh Young's madness and foolishness, thinking he is a big fish when he is actually a little guy with delusions of grandeur.

    My only complain is that the end is very rush.

  • Reply
    nana157awesome Mar 19, 2016 - edited

    This movie is strange but damn Lee Joon's acting. It was crazy how much his facial expressions could change so fast!! This movie also made me think about how some of my favorite actors/idols are probably really different behind the scenes.

  • Reply
    SamuraiSx Feb 4, 2016

    I think humanity nowdays don't know what to do with itself out of too comfort and updated life and this movie just proves how human beeing sank so low. I don't know what to say about Lee Joona nd this movie. After rewatching it with SUB I think he acted good, but tried too much and bringing out sickness and such awful personalities to be congratulated as doing such an mature and serious plot movie is beyond normal mind. I don't think this movie is good, and I think Joonie don't need to try o hard for such awfuly sick roles.

  • Reply
    Izaya Dec 5, 2015

    Never again. Seeing Lee Joon doing such things as he did in this movie, is just too much for my poor innocent mind!! X_X

  • Reply
    vanooshe Aug 13, 2015 - edited

    all I can say is Lee Joon was really great in this movie! he is really talented in acting, maybe more than singing!:)
    But, can someone explain main point of the story to me plz?! I didn't understand the story at all! at a glance it is about acting, fame and pride! you can go up in just one night and you might go down exactly the day after it!
    and plus, I still can not believe that a 25 years old guy who said he wasn't in a relationship for more than 5 years does such an erotic scenes!!! :||||

  • Reply
    supalove Jul 20, 2015

    i don't think ive ever given any movie on here this low of a rating but i gave this movie a 4 because the actual plot and structure of the film was completely non-existent. like yes kudos to lee joon for giving such an amazing performance and for going above and beyond the call of duty, but the movie itself did not do him justice. like what was it even about?? i still don't know.

  • Reply
    BAsfaw Jul 3, 2015

    Where can watch this movie?


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Release Date:

    Oct 24, 2013
  • Duration:

    1 hr. 38 min.


  • Score:

    6.8 (scored by 1,311 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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