Dogs are warning sign. Since ancient times, dogs have been guarding and barking towards danger, alerting humans. Even in our more developed and advanced society today, dogs still fill the lonely voids of people and protect each other as companions. Those who kill these dogs because they bark towards unfamiliar or dangerous situations are seen as strangers or dangerous individuals. As a symbol of justice, dogs make the movie a bit easier to understand. The three men who appear in this movie to harm and try to kill the dog, which is a valuable presence as a child's friend, a grandmother's pet, or a precious companion living with retirement elders. They are committing a crime.
The main character in this movie, Go Yoon-ju, is contemplating becoming a professor through unethical bribery. He constantly hears the barking of the dog and wants to kill it because it annoys him. He covers up his conscience momentarily because it might allow him to become a professor. Thus, the scenes of Go Yoon-ju trying to kill the dog while regretting it and then trying to find it again are similar to his inner conflict. In contrast, the security guard consistently smiles and commits murder in the basement. He is undoubtedly devoid of any conscience. He even digs up and eats the buried dog, lying about his actions.
For a homeless, survival is paramount, and other moral values such as justice or conscience are meaningless. The dog is neither more nor less than a source of food for the guard, who, unlike Go Yoon-ju, does not struggle with guilt. He has nothing, so he doesn't need to worry about societal norms or deceive anyone. When the protagonist, Park Hyun-nam, takes the dog from him to protect it, the guard remains calm. He doesn't even think he did anything wrong. He says it's good to eat well in prison. The three men who struggle with conscience, abandon it, or don't have any at all, are strangely connected.
The movie takes place in an apartment complex, depicting the stories of people living in the same structured space. The story begins with Go Yoon-ju looking out at a forest, which gradually fades into the background to reveal that he is inside the apartment complex. He realizes that the forest represents the outside world, and that he is strictly confined within the walls of the complex.
As he struggles with the decision to become a professor, the sound of a barking dog disturbs her. The dog is an alarm that has entered through the window from the outside world. Go Yoon-ju attempts to silence the noise by killing the dog, but she is caught by an old woman who comes to calm the dog. He hides in the basement where brutality and corruption take place, while the rooftop, the only area completely exposed to the outside world, becomes a place where evil cannot be avoided.
The basement is a dark and sinister place hidden underground where Go Yoon-ju meets a homeless man. His presence represents her obsession with survival. He finds himself in a selfish position where he must make a choice for his own survival, even though it conflicts with him disgust for the situation. Ultimately, he is forced to make an egocentric decision for her own well-being.
Even the main character, who hesitated and delayed in decision, was ultimately taken care of by the security guard. This incident in the basement causes Go Yoon-ju to lean towards an egocentric choice for himself.
Go yoon-ju and Park Hyun-nam play the main roles in the story. Interestingly, the male has a feminine name, Go yoon-ju, while the female has a masculine name, Park Hyun-nam. One might wonder why the author chose to give them names that are typically associated with a different gender. It was done to end the gender divide in telling a story about people. When we see the names Goyoonju and Park Hyun-nam, we automatically think of them as female and male, respectively.
However, when we see actors Lee Sung-jae and Bae Doo-na, we immediately think of them as male and female, respectively. In other words, our perception of gender based on names and faces is reversed.
A person's identity is not only inherent to themselves, but also tied to their social identity represented by their personal history through their name. This device of blurring and obfuscating gender identity ultimately serves to remove any sense of gender and distinction that it carries. It's a small but significant detail. Go yoon-ju, who moves from the outside world, such as the forest and rooftop to the underground, represents the average person with personal desires, selfish choices, conflicts with morality, and moral struggles. Eventually, they compromise with reality without making negative choices. However, due to a series of events, he shows a glimpse of vulnerability by making a small gesture such as putting ten thousand won in a small hole in a blocked window. Unlike the security guard who only hides his faults, Go yoon-ju admits his own weakness and retains some conscience while giving up the perfect and untainted natural forest and staying in reality. His appearance is no different from ours.
On the other hand, Park Hyun-nam, who dreamt of becoming a national hero by doing a just and righteous deed, did her best and caught the criminal, but she couldn't become the hero. She wasn't even mentioned in the news. That's because she was too naive and not evil enough. In the end, she had to be fired. She couldn't compromise with reality and was sent to the forest by the director. It's a place that's not part of the reality world where corruption has already taken hold.