A college boy Su-min is looking around paintings in a gallery when he hears someone screaming for help. That's where he first meets a high school girl, Hyun-jin. They soon meet again in a park, and she realizes he is gifted; he can read people's mind. He doesn't want to be near her but somehow he happens to talk with her all the time, which makes him confused. They unexpectedly run into a kidnapping case and she is getting sure about his supernatural power.
Hyun-jin tags after him, and tries him in many different ways to figure out his gift. He thinks she is so annoying and frustrating; however he finds strangely himself feeling something about her. As he is entangled in Hyun-jin's test, he ends up cleaning a restaurant to cover for expensive lobster dishes. Later on Su-min and Hyun-jin go to an amusement park with the money from Su-min's cleaning work and surely she never stops testing him even at the park.
Since they see the kidnapping suspect by chance at the park, they get a step closer to real state of the kidnapping.
Cast & Credits
In terms of both romance and comedy, the film is surprisingly, though pleasingly low-key. Although the relationship between Hyun Jin and Su Min builds in predictable fashion and is hampered by its inevitability, it never feels forced, and Kim stops short of allowing unbelievable full love to blossom. As such, it is all the more convincing for it, thanks in part to charming performances from both Park Bo Young and Jin Goo, and the film is genuinely quite touching towards the end in a manner which makes the final twist far easier to swallow. Similarly, the film is amusing throughout, though in deadpan fashion, with little in the way of over the top slapstick or tiresome pratfalls. Kim derives most of the humour from the strange situations which the characters end up in, and as such ensures that the laughs never detract from the plot.
Visually the film is quite impressive, with Kim representing Su Min’s psychic powers through strange flickering images, blurring and shaky camera work, all of which is effective without being over the top. As might be expected from an editor turned director, he keeps the film tight and well paced, and clocking in at only an hour and twenty minutes it never outstays its welcome. He does employ a variety of different techniques and styles that help to keep the film interesting, though in controlled fashion and without ever lapsing into the kind of forced stylishness that so many first time directors are prone to. Also in the film’s favour is the fact that Kim shies away from too many mock cute touches, saving it all for one long, silent animated explanatory sequence near the end, which actually works very well.That journey, for the most part, relies largely on the chemistry between Jin Goo and Park Bo-yeong. It reminds me somewhat of ‘My Sassy Girl’, another tale of the reluctant guy being chased by a cute but mysterious girl. There, the chemistry is not only strong, but it is also one that broke new grounds. Since then, many others have tried to replicate that but here’s a film that gets close to replicating that. The complete opposite nature of the two helps, but I have to admit, it is Park Bo-yeong’s ability to look totally, utterly, butterly cute that influences this review. Jin Goo, on the other hand, doesn’t have a difficult time playing the straight guy here. He’s the one who’s reluctant to use his powers, even in dire and desperate situations. Witness the hilarious restaurant sequence, when Hyun-jin pushes Su-min to get them a free lunch. Asking random strangers as to whether they’ve done any rock-climbing also doesn’t rank very highly on the normal-o-meter. But it is the quirkiness that is charming in its own way.
As such, “ESP Couple” is short and sweet, and although it does end a little abruptly, is one of the few films of its type to leave the viewer wanting more. Sufficiently different to stand out from the crowd, it delivers charmingly entertaining viewing that successfully mixes a variety of genres to wacky, though surprisingly coherent effective. Having shown himself to be an eccentric talent, it will be interesting to see what director Kim Hyung Joo turns his hand to next, though it is certainly hoped that he will continue down such a creative and oddball road.