Successful middle-aged filmmaker Byungsoo (Kwon Haehyo) drops by to visit and introduce his daughter to an old friend, Mrs. Kim (Lee Hyeyoung), the owner of a charming apartment building that houses a restaurant on the ground floor. After Mrs. Kim tries to persuade him to move into one of the walk-up units, the film and Byungsoo’s future take a series of unexpected turns, as the various floors of the apartment come to contain different stages of his romantic and professional lives – or perhaps they’re different realities?
“Hong’s project – at this point, we can expect two or three bone-dry micro-budget films a year, virtually all festival-slate locks – is a reassuring anomaly in the arthouse sphere, often a palette cleanser among heavy dramas. And yet, Walk Up’s drab mood lifts a middle finger to the desire to elevate Hong into a heroic figure. [...] After Hong’s recent fêting with a Film at Lincoln Center retrospective, he exaggerates his situation to ask what it means to be ‘resonant,’ a ‘festival favorite,’ when cinema is underfunded and the pandemic trudges on.”
“Amidst these musings, it is difficult not to crack a smile. The increasingly unhinged conversations and entirely still camera allow one to lean into the nuances of the actors’ performances. Park Mi-so (who also acted in Hong Sang-soo’s Introduction (2021) and The Novelist’s Film (2022)) especially shines here. Her easy bashfulness feels organic in the face of Lee Hae-young and Kwon Hae-hyo’s matured elegance; her repressed rage towards her estranged father feels palpable. From her averted eyes to the loose cigarette dangling from her fingers, she fully embraces the common grace of a girl next door. Of all of Walk Up’s extraordinary characters, Park Mi-so adds an appropriately plebian charm of a fresh-faced youth.”