Ankita Panda, Kolkata, West Bengal
Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (신과함께 : 죄와 벌) is a fantasy action film released in the year 2017. The film is based on the webtoon series Along with the Gods by Joo Ho-min. It is directed by Kim Yong-hwa and stars Ha Jung-woo, Cha Tae-hyun, Ju Ji-hoon and Kim Hyang-gi. The film was distributed by Lotte Entertainment and spanned over 140 mins with the production value of over 18 million dollars. According to the KOFIC (Korean Film Council), as of January 2021, Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds is the third most highest-grossing domestic film, by receipts and the number of tickets sold nationwide. Furthermore, the film has been nominated for various prestigious awards, and has been the recipient of many as well.
Firefighter Kim Ja-hong (Cha Tae-hyun), around whom the story centers, dies in the line of duty and is visited by three guardians; Haewonmaek (Ju Ji-hoon), assistant guardian Lee Deok-chun (Kim Hyang-gi) and their leader Gang-rim (Ha Jung-woo). They are supposed to escort him to the afterlife where he will have to pass through seven trials in 49 days; and if he is successful, he will be reincarnated. As firefighter Kim Ja-hong is recognized as a paragon, the three guardians will be given credit towards their own reincarnation if they successfully defend and protect him through the seven trials.
With this in mind, all four of them set out to complete their quest, but the journey is not an easy one as various obstacles and supernatural creatures, such as ghouls, threaten to deter them from their path. Just a slight warning, do not eat while you are watching this film because every bite will taste salty due to your tears. The film is packed with action, and the CGI will blow your mind, as one of Asia’s largest film production and visual effects studio, Dexter Studios, was behind the CGI of the film. Cinematography is an important aspect when it comes to filmmaking, especially if it’s a story that requires proper visual effects, and if it is neglected, even the best storyline or acting won’t save the film. Fortunately, not only the film is a visual treat, showing the different courts of Hell where Ja-hong will be judged based on his actions, but the dialogues and acting is enough to make you tear up every now and then. Paired with unpredictable twists and turns, the film will keep a grip on you till the very end, and by that time you will be too attached to the characters to not want more. As luck would have it, a sequel titled Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days was released in 2018, and it follows the story of the firefighter’s brother.
A scene that took place in the Second court, Hell of Indolence made me ponder over it a lot, especially what the society thinks. Ja-hong’s guardians talk about his selflessness and diligence, and right before he is acquitted, he admits that he only worked himself to death for money and this moment is very important because he was going get punished for it. But the money was to support his brother and his sick mother. We are always asked to give our best, to not always care about money, and the society looks down on people who chase money, calling it a piece of paper. But we live in a capitalist economy where you need money to even breathe, and more than half of the world suffers due to poverty. So, is it really wrong to care about money when you just want to live a comfortable life?
Why You Should Watch?
Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds is an inquisition into human flaws and makes the viewers ponder on what would they have done if they were in place of the protagonist; how many trials would they have been able to pass through successfully, or whether they would be convicted. It also makes us look back on the kind of life we have been living, and change things no matter how minuscule it is, as even the smallest decisions or actions can cause huge waves in our lives.