If you decide to build a time machine, you might not want to let these folks operate it!
11 A.M. is a Korean sci-fi film that in many ways is a film about human nature, and I appreciate that. In fact, I think the best sci-fi is something that can have meaning that can be applied to us here and now. However, I will admit that the film is confusing at time…but still well worth seeing.
The premise of the film is that a South Korean scientist and his team want to build a time machine and are assisted by the Russians to bring this dream to life. Although it’s taken years, the team is finally ready to test the system in their underwater lab. It will be a seemingly small test—to hop one day ahead and stay there only 15 minutes. However, this seemingly simple test turns out to be disastrous—though how disastrous and why you won’t realize until late in the film.
When the pair of explorers are transported to their station a day later, they are shocked to find the place in ruins—there are fires everywhere and it appears as if they are all about to die. However, since they only have 15 minutes, knowing exactly HOW to stop it and WHY it’s occurring does not seem possible. And, in their rush to get back to the day before, one is accidentally left behind. But, this person left behind is able to come back…though a bit later in the film. However, this late arriving lady behaves strangely—as if she’s trying to destroy the project. She even unleashes a computer virus into the system. What gives and why is she doing this? What did she learn on the future base? Or, is she just plain nuts?
The film asks the fundamental question whether or not we can change the future. Well, this isn’t an easy thing to answer when you see the film. The film is father fatalistic—but perhaps the problem isn’t our ability to change the future but our limitations because we humans are pretty stupid and in trying to change things, we might end up making it all come true! Many more questions will undoubtedly arise as you watch the film—and it really can make your brain hurt a bit with all the possibilities.
I would say this is a very good film—perhaps not a great one, but one that will make you think. Additionally, the movie has incredibly nice production values. The titles, music (with the exception of the Carole King song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” which seemed to be a bit overplayed and started to make me twitch!) and sets are all top-notch and there isn’t a lot of fault about the movie except that there are so many conundrums presented by time travel…and it all does get a bit confusing to try to sort out in your mind. Still, it’s worth seeing and is proof that the South Koreans can make some excellent films…but we non-Koreans just need to be willing to give them a try and get over our apprehension about having to read subtitles…just get over it!
Review by Lead Entertainment Writer & Film Critic, Martin Hafer