Review of: The Pearl Diver 

reviewed by gordonkris on 10/15/2007
Credited Review
Heaven Can Wade Credited Review
This has a very interesting concept. I like the way you set everything up quickly at the beginning and got the family over to Korea. The characters are generally well-drawn, believable (I liked Issac least at first, seemed a little cartoonish – then he grew on me). I wonder about their odd Biblical names though (especially Heaven)– that was a little distracting. Korea seems a little loosely described, almost Medieval. Give it a modern touch first (like at the airport) then make the drive to the coast long and arduous. I think maybe ten old women still dive for pearls in Korea and they live in the extreme south. Isaacs involvement with Joo-Eun doesn’t really ring true as detailed. Why would she be involved with him?

Setting a script in a foreign country has always seemed problematic. How do you get enough English to be spoken? How fluent do you make it sound? (I think Aunt Sun’s is a little too “native” sounding). Who will the audience be? (are Americans that interested in Korea/ Korean movies right now are better than American, will they want to watch this?)

As a horror movie, this moved along fairly predictably. I do think evil children, especially babies, are worth some extra points on the scare-o-meter. Usually the twin stuff has been done to death, but you had some interesting imagery. The Shaman info was quite interesting but the many explanations slowed it down, took away from the scares. It lacked the momentum it needed to work as a horror flick.

I guess it doesn’t matter, but your portrait of Korean is a little naïve. Very very few people believe in shamans anymore – since a majority of the populace in now Christian, most likely, even in the countryside those who still practice shamanism would be shunned and ridiculed (even Buddhists are often mocked there now…)

P1 - Is she Korean or Korean-American?
P6 – what kind of Asian symbols – hangul, kanji, yin yang?
P9 - wipes his sweaty brown – this typo made me laugh
P11 - SUN
Welcome home, then. I speak good enough
English until you learn Korean. Jacob
has written that you are a teacher as
well. What do you teach? – sounds perfect to me
p20 - SUN
Then let us get a few more lobsters to
celebrate my new haircut – nice line
p24 - Heaven and Sun stand in a small patch of overgrown grass.
A simple, rounded gravestone looks out onto the ocean. – traditional Korean graves are big grass-covered mounds
P44 - She comes face to face with the bloated, rotten corpses
of two Caucasian women. – how does the audience know they are Caucasian
p47 - VAL
You can’t! You need to go to Seoul,
otherwise we moved here for nothing! – don’t get this line
p59 – this was scary – nice work
p62- VAL
I’m sorry about the no phone situation
out here. – no cell?
Also – Heaven is in high school, right? How old is Yong?
(to Sun)
What? That wasn’t my father I saw that
night? – some of the dialogue seems a little stiff
p80 – the scene where Isaac takes over Yong’s body is cool, but the reason for it is unclear. As is Val’s death. When it becomes clear, it’s a bit of an eyeroller. There’s just a big hurdle of believability. Namely, how do bad people become intimate with good people? How do evil fathers have angelic daughters?
My old shell’s gonna be cremated!
There’s no blood left in this world to
anchor me, Sun. Nothing! – Isaac or Yongl?
Let your blood remain! It ties you to
this world! Anchors you! – this doesn’t resonate – it’s a way to kill Isaac based on words, not logic – you need a stronger, more obvious way to destroy the evil old bastard

I thought this was nicely written. Very informative and interesting. Not exactly realistic in its portrayal of modern Korea. I wanted it to be more frightening, less pedantic. Late in the script I had the idea it all might work better if it was set in an earlier time period like the 80’s when the country was just opening up to the west from dictatorship. But it’s far better than most scripts I’ve read here. Thanks.

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