LA WEEKLY Review of Post Concussion
By Nicole Campos, LA Weekly July 14-20 2000
Daniel Yoon wears so many hats on POST CONCUSSION - writer, director, producer, star, editor, cinematographer - you half expect the next edition of Merriam-Webster to include his picture next to "auteur." Even more amazingly, every aspect of Yoon's work excels and then some.
In the film he plays Matt Kang, a Berkeley management consultant who's perfectly content with his routine of 80-hour work weeks. Then, one day Matt is hit by a car, and the resulting head injury wreaks its havoc. His girlfriend leaves him, he loses his job; soon, it's a downward spiral of medical-insurance red tape and New Age recovery schemes.
Yoon's dry voice-over narration, with its realistic stammers and stutters, is a sly compliment to the film's loopy, satyrical sensibilities: The "vaguely leftist bohemian" personality of Matt's soon-to-be-ex girlfriend is illustrated by a quick snippet of her giggling and exclaiming, "God I love this organic arugula!"
POST CONCUSSION is winningly genuine, with characters who defy the traditions of the "lifestyle wake-up-call" genre. (The girlfriend whose love helps save Matt is a brusque, bespectacled physics student from Germany.)
- Reviewed for special screening with American Cinematheque's Alternative Screen Series and IFP's Festival Buzz Series.
"POST CONCUSSION" WINS FAMED
TAOS LAND GRANT AWARD
Taos Talking Pictures Festival coveted prize for best feature film goes to Daniel Yoon for "Post Concussion"
April 19, 2000 TAOS, NM -- The Taos Talking Pictures Festival awarded its famed Land Grant Prize to Daniel Yoon for his extraordinary feature debut "Post Concussion." The land grant jurors were impressed by Yoon's unusual ability to handle serious autobiographical subject matter with humor, integrity and grace, in such a manner as both to charm and to inspire a wide diversity of audiences.
The five member jury of film industry professionals chose Yoon to receive five acres of land in Taos over three outstanding competitors: Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner "Long Night's Journey into Day" by Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman, Jeremy Stein's "The Photographer," and Sandra Osawa's "On and Off the Res with Charlie Hill."
The Land Grant Award is given to "a singular filmmaker, one who demonstrates a passion and inventiveness in using the moving image to tell our stories." Previous Land Grant winners include Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals), David Riker (La Ciudad), Constance Marks (Green Chimneys) and Gary Walkow (Notes from the Underground).
The Taos Land Grant Award is the biggest, most permanent prize anywhere - five acres of land on Cerro Montoso, just north of Taos, NM. The festival's intent is "to plant extraordinary filmmakers in Taos' rich artistic soil, creating a community that supports and engenders high-quality cinema." Long-term plans for the land include a production facility and retreat.
The Taos Land Grant Award was conceived and donated by the brilliant and iconoclastic filmmaker Jeff Jackson. Jurors for the 2000 award included Ellen Osborne of Taos Talking Pictures, Jeff and Jean- Marie Jackson of Taos Land and Film Company, Alton Walpole of Mountainar Films, and 1999 Land Grant Winner David Riker. The Land Grant Award is sponsored by the Taos Land and Film Company, along with KTAO Solar 101.9 FM.
Old personality is lost, but a soul is found
Glimpse at life after brain injury is not without humour
by Marc Horton, The Edmonton Journal April 3, 2000
Reviewed at Local Heroes International Film Festival
The understated tag line for Post Concussion, Daniel Yoon's wry, funny and autobiographical film about overcoming a severe knock on the noggin, wraps it up: "I'm going to say just two words: serious head injury.''
In this movie, only the names have been changed to protect the injured. Yoon plays himself - renamed as Matthew Kang - a high-pressured, driven young business consultant in Berkeley, Calif. He has few interests other than work. His apartment is barely furnished and his contact with friends is brusque. Matthew is the kind of man who's on-the-go and on-the-way. He works 80 hours a week and doesn't break a sweat.
When business needs help, Matthew is on the team that swoops in and sweeps up. Cutbacks, layoffs and early retirements follow in their wake. Right-sizing downsizes people out of work, and stock prices rise.
All of that changes suddenly when Matthew is struck in a crosswalk and knocked unconscious. When he emerges from a day-long coma, his life is changed. His job will go. His girlfriend will quickly follow. His recovery will be painfully slow, punctuated by headaches and long naps.
On disability pay from his job, Matthew may never have to wear a suit and tie again, but he will find his soul. And when you watch this film, you realize the pre-accident Matthew was the kind of guy you would probably thoroughly dislike. The post-accident Matthew is thoroughly likable, and Post Concussion presents us with redemption-through-brain trauma.
The chance is presented for a return to work and is one of the comic highlights of the film - Matthew channel surfs most of the day and avoids returning phone calls to his mom. What he does manage, however, is to dump Girlfriend No. 1, meet a New Age possibility, and finally settle on Monica (Jennifer Welch), the East German grad student who lives in his building.
That director Yoon, 34, finds as much humour as he does in this triumphant and even inspirational story makes his film a little gem. He is, after all, dealing with serious stuff, but he does so in such a light-hearted way that he completely wins you over.
Hollywood has made countless movies where sickness serves as the catalyst for fundamental change in a person's soul. It's not often, however, where they make them with Yoon's level of integrity and disarming charm.
FILM THREATô Magazine
October 1999 (currently archived)
Reviewed at Austin Film Festival
by Merle Bertrand
"Just two little words," warns this film's understated movie poster. "Serious brain damage." Such is the twisted, offbeat humor of Daniel Yoon's clever quasi-autobiographical comic satire "Post Concussion."
Matthew (Yoon) is a sharp as a shark, pragmatically ruthless workaholic management consultant at a Fortune 1000 firm. For his considerable skills at paring down corporate workforces, and thus laying off thousands of employees, he's paid a handsome salary that almost compensates for his Spartan existence and the complete lack of meaning to his life.
Enter the car, which strikes the distracted suit and sends him flying through the air, his head thwacking the concrete like a melon on the "Late Show." Weeks later, unable to work due to the splitting headaches, lack of concentration and memory loss associated with severe concussions, Matthew goes on disability. As he seeks out a bewildering and amusing variety of New Age cures and therapists, he takes advantage of the downtime to take stock of and ultimately redirect his life.
"Post Concussion" is a charming and disarming winner, primarily due to Yoon's relaxed and natural portrayal of Matthew. It lingers too long in a few spots, namely scenes of the recovering patient's endless channel surfing and the falling in love scenes between Matthew and his (former) East German neighbor Monica (Jennifer Welch), but that's okay.
Why a pleasant, otherwise intelligent fellow like Yoon, still suffering from debilitating headaches on occasion some five years after his real life accident/career change, would take on the horrid hassles of making a movie is anyone's guess. Lucky for us, he did just that. And if "Post Concussion" doesn't get picked up, it proves that distributors are suffering from some serious brain damage of their own.
Post Concussion: Inventive, Irreverant, and Astonishingly Well-Scripted
Daniel Yoon's astounding debut chosen as NAATA's Closing Night Gala Film
by Jason Saunders, Pacific Film Archive, for the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival March 1, 2000
Deftly satirizing the Bay Area's recent cell phone and laptop invasion and its hippiefied crystals-and-meditation remnants, POST CONCUSSION represents a new phase of Asian American comedic cinema--irreverent, organic and completely independent. Made by a first-time filmmaker with no formal training and who often functioned as the sole crew member, actor and editor, it embodies a do-it-yourself aesthetic and natural charm rarely seen since Wayne Wang's CHAN IS MISSING, one that's as liberating as it is entertaining.
Young, tough and annoyingly successful, Matthew Kang is the typical management consultant complete with a laptop, power suit and a corporate self-absorbed attitude. When a bruising car accident causes him massive head trauma, though, his life suddenly switches from the logical left brain to the disorganized right. Unable to focus on downsizing helpless workers or follow his coworkers' inane business metaphors ("It's fourth and twenty and you're inside your own ten yard line. I think you'd better punt.") he withdraws from the rigid corporate world and steps straight into an opposite extreme of militantly positive, oppressively healthy New Age followers and therapists, each a little too ready and willing to open up his chakras. Experiencing television-based hallucinations or having fractured conversations with his East German "friendly neighbor," soon he must decide which lifestyle, if any, to embrace.
Director/star Daniel Yoon taught himself filmmaking after suffering a similar debilitating head injury in Berkeley. Only able to film a few hours a day, he often acted as his own crew, setting up the lights, checking the sound and running the camera while darting in front to act. Finally, he edited the entire film on his home computer. Formally inventive, continually irreverent and astonishingly well-scripted, the film captures the banalities of cultural lingo from the boardroom to the yoga mat in this astounding debut. Made completely outside the traditional support structure, recalling the guerrilla aesthetic of Asian American film pioneers, POST CONCUSSION is a fitting close to this year's festival.
The Austin American-Statesman & Austin360.com
by Nathan Kokemor
Following the lead of past super low budget film classics such as "El Mariachi", "Post Concussion" shines as a reminder to Hollywood that entertaining movies do not have to break the bank.
Telling the story of a management consultant who walks in front of a car and ends up with a serious head injury, the film hilariously conveys the madness of a single event forever changing the course of a life.
Directed and starring Daniel Yoon, the story examines the struggle to regain a grasp on the structured corporate life once enjoyed while at the same time sharing with the audience the lesson that often an abstract and less structured life allows for happiness as well.
As with most low budget films, there were some technical problems within the film, most noticeably dialogue out of sync, but these minor problems made the film that much more enjoyable. They remind the audience of the great lengths the filmmaker went to in order to complete the film.
Yoon, on hand to discuss the film at Dobie, related several stories regarding production of the film. Listening to the trials and tribulations of making the movie, it was evident that "Post Concussion" is a shining example of why events such as the Austin Film Festival are so important.
"Post Concussion" turned out to be a rare gem among super low budget movies, and knowing how much effort went into the production only made the antics within the film even funnier. Hopefully, the film will find some sort of distribution that allows a larger number of audiences to enjoy it. At the very least, could someone screen it to all of Hollywood?