Film Reviews

Samjin Company English Class Review: Even The Name Of This Movie Is Too Long

In 1995, three female employees at Samjin Company who are given the opportunity to be promoted if they score at least 600 points at the TOEIC test enroll in English classes. One day, they notice that their company is involved in illegal business and start investigating.

You would think a movie that condemns globalization and the practice of mega-corporations working in direct conflict against the best interests of its home country would get a much better review around here. However, this film stretches out so long, the film feels more like a hostage situation than a movie about whistleblowers.

Samjin Company English Class is a South Korean film set in the mid-1990s. A group of inspiring ‘career women’ is looking for an opportunity to move up the corporate ladder with SAMJIN Company. SAMJIN begins to offer promotions to those who score a 600 or higher on a standardized English test so the women attend classes in order to speak better English and get a better job in the company. 

The girl’s inspirations changed after discovering the company may be responsible for a hazardous chemical leak running off into the nearby countryside. The company lied about the lab results showing the toxic chemical in the drinking water is actually 100x over the toxic limits. The girls decide to investigate and expose the corruption in the corporation before the owner can sell it to a global tycoon. 

Samjin Company English Class is one of the worst paced films in years. The film moves at the pace of a legless man crawling through a ring of fire. The 1st act sets up the film very well in its introduction of the character and setting the tone of what would eventually lead to South Korea’s financial crisis. By act 2, the film waterboards its audience with so much exposition that by the time you think the story is wrapping up, you still have an hour left of runtime. 

The film quickly loses its focus as it quickly shifts from whistleblowing the corruption of a company and drives into a subplot of anti-Globalism and anti-American Corporatism that stretches out the runtime ANOTHER 25 minutes longer than the film ever needed to be. 

The cast has a lot of vibrant chemistry who do a great job at presenting what Korean work culture was like back in the 1990s. The characters themselves are well developed and benefit from strong period details in the choreography which makes everyone more authentic to the time period. The fault of this film is choppy storytelling and lack of focus which makes the film fall apart like wet tissue paper.

Samjin Company English Class is 30 minutes too long and 30 years too late in warning the world about the dangers of the globalization of mega-corporations.

2/5

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