This one’s a random pick because my go-to favorites usually swing between rom-coms and procedurals. Originally a webtoon, Along With The Gods takes us to the afterlife where a human is subjected through seven stages of trials before he is allowed to reincarnate. Accompanying him in this journey are three guardians who are tasked to defend and find proof that he had made honorable choices when he was still alive.
Each trial peels a layer off Kim Ja-hong’s life that brings up unfortunate memories he’d rather forget. Forced to face his demons in the afterlife, he finally makes peace with the resentment he carried throughout his mortal existence. Cha Tae-hyun is empathic as the flawed and conflicted Ja-hong whose unexpected death also kick-starts an important sub-plot of the film.
It should be noted that while I’ve never seen a single Ha Jung-woo movie prior to this, his charismatic portrayal of Gang-rim won me over as a fan. He plays off well with Ju Ji-hoo’s goofy yet dependable Haewonmak, the second-in-command of Ja-hong’s guardians, who steps up while his sunbae deals with unexpected complications that might hinder their ward’s trials.
For a movie that’s 90% reliant on VFX, this is one emotional journey that tugs the heartstrings for all the right reasons.