‘Carter’ director revamps opening scene to hook viewers

August 10, 2022

 Netflix’s latest Korean original film “Carter” starts with a 20-minute single-take action scene where Carter (Joo Won), an amnesiac agent on a hostage rescue mission, has a bloody dogfight — almost naked — with a hundred faceless people in a public bath.

The agent is ordered to bring a girl to North Korea to serve as an antidote for a pandemic that hit the Korean Peninsula.

Its director-writer Jung Byung-gil said Wednesday he created the heart-pounding opening scene filled with astounding hand-to-hand combat and shootouts to hook capricious viewers of the streaming service from the beginning.

“The film’s initial script had a different opener. As ‘Carter’ is not a film for theatrical release, I wanted to capture the eyes of viewers with stronger visual images from the start,” Jung said in an online media interview. “People would watch this show via smartphones or laptops. I wanted to give them a far more powerful impression from the beginning to stay tuned,” said the director, well-known for a motorcycle fight scene shot from a first-person point of view in the opening of his female assassin movie “The Villainess” (2017).

This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from "Carter." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from "Carter." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from “Carter.” (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The director said that he also cared about the sound design of his first Netflix original film for those watching his movie at home, not at a movie theater with big horn speakers. The movie had to offer average normal sound and audio wherever and whenever viewers turn on the show via any device, he added.

“Each viewer has different levels of speakers. Some watch content through TVs, smartphones or laptops. So I made the film able to be heard similarly on every occasion,” Jung said. “If this film has audio for a theater release, people would have had to control the volume scene after scene because it’s too loud for a laptop or a phone.”

But he still wishes to see his action-packed thriller on the big screen with better cinema sound, although he had a special preview event for the first 20 minutes of “Carter” at a local movie theater last month.

“That was my first time seeing ‘Carter’ on the big screen even though it was just 20 minutes. It was good. I felt ‘Carter’ goes well with cinema,” he said. “But I think it’s attractive enough for a filmmaker to share his movie with many people around the world at the same time.”

Since its official release on Friday, “Carter” has been gaining popularity on Netflix despite mixed views on its electrifying action and patchy melodramatic plot.

It debuted at No. 1 on Netflix’s latest weekly viewership chart of non-English films, becoming the first Korean-language film to top the streamer’s chart for the category.

“My mood fluctuates in accordance with good and bad responses to my film,” said Jung, who is now preparing for some film projects, including several English-language ones. “But I’m very excited to see many people like my movie and its rankings go up.”