Director Lee Joon-Ik’s 2018 film “Sunset in My Hometown” throws rapper Hak-Soo back to a place he tries to leave behind as he grabs another chance at his dreams.

“Show Me the Money” is a popular TV competition in South Korea for rappers to get their big break into the music industry. Hak-Soo (Park Jung-Min, “Psychokinesis”) enters its Season 6 as his sixth attempt and using his anger as fuel and lyrics to pass the auditions and preliminary rounds. Things literally halt when he nearly his a car that his old high school buddies drove. They reunite over a meal and Hak-Soo gets a call from his hometown’s hospital saying his father is in bad condition. Reluctantly, he goes back to the harbor community of Byeonsan where he finds his dad in a shockingly cheerful state. Seeing him not in dire form, he plans on going back to Seoul, but he is mistaken for a wanted criminal and must stay until the investigation is over. If it wasn’t already bad enough, his past resurfaces in the forms of old crushes and annoyances. It seems that the old ties he left years ago still bind him down.

Fans of romantic k-dramas will enjoy as “Sunset in My Hometown” brings various elements in a package held by rap music. It gives the audiences spoonfuls of comedy in order to handle Hak-Soo’s harsh past and the tense drama it brings up. His rap songs, whether sung in person or played in background, give both exposition and his inner thoughts. Some would feel sympathy because of his upbringing but not everyone would warm up to his negative attitude and glaring eyes. His former classmate and admirer Sun-mi does her best to be like a guardian angel but even kindness has a tipping point. Kim Go-eun from “Goblin” gives a wonderful performance as the mostly reserve character that slowly reveals her true intentions. Viewers discretion is advised due to strong language and brief scenes of blood and violence.

For more information on “Sunset in My Hometown”, check out their page on SDAFF’s festival site.

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