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Korean Film by Kim Ki-Duk (3-Iron)

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The not quite believable love story

  • Apr 16, 2008
I became curious for more films by Ki-duk-Kim, who has a reputation for delivering movies that are pretty edgy about relations between men and women. And this one is pretty edgy. Viewers are lured by a speech-impaired, low-class pimp Han-gi (Cho Je-Hyun) who after being attracted to middle-class college coed Sun-hwa (Seo Won) sitting on a park bench, violently kisses her in front of her boyfriend and then is beaten in public by a few soldiers and forced to apologize. After being spit on by Sun-hwa, the humiliated thug follows her and sets her up in a bookstore pickpocket scheme, where she's coerced into becoming a prostitute in a notorious Seoul red light district.

This movie basically has two parts, the breakdown of Sun-Hwa and the reconstruction of Sun-Hwa. The first half of the movie moves along at a fairly good pace. The characters are interesting and the story unfolds nicely and is punctuated by sporadic moments of violence and unpleasant bouts of non-consensual sex. The second half of the movie is decidedly slower and a little less believable. It's hard to believe that Sun-Hwa would fall for Han-Ki even after he turns her into a prostitute and watches her from behind a two-way mirror. The film quality of this movie is your Asian fare. It's not as crisp as a Hollywood movie does it does have a little more grime to it.

The acting in this film is fair. Je-Hyun Cho gives a quality performance as Han-Ki. Han-Ki is basically a mute throughout the movie, but Cho provides the character with dialogue through his physical performance and the intense looks that he provides. Half the fun of the movie for me was trying to figure out what Han-Ki is thinking from the behavior and looks that he gives. It's fun for some people, but annoying for others. Seo Won hands in a truly mind-boggling and emotional performance. Won does a talented job of showing the range of emotions that an ex-college student would go through when reduced to the level of prostitution. The scenes with her first cleint are truly disturbing and will have you squirming in your seat, unless you like that sort of thing. I was amazed at the ability of the filmmakers and actors to actually create a sense of sympathy and even a feeling of warmness for the prostitutes and the pimps, especially for Han-Ki. Despite the fact that Han-Ki basically enslaved Sun-Hwa, I still found myself kind of liking the guy. He is more than a pimp; he is a hard but loving father figure for his dysfunctional family of whores and pimps.

Overall, the viewer is asked to be a voyeur and is then told he must be as sick as the sexual predator to view this. Well you be the judge. Kim Ki-Duk's usual mix of violent and lyrical images fails to generate the proper energy he desired to show how relationships work out of biting tensions.

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More Bad Guy reviews
Quick Tip by . May 17, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
One of the more emotional, disturbing films that Kim Ki-Duk has ever written and directed. An odd love story that brings two people; how sometimes we cannot seem to express our feelings due to our insecurities and yet reducing someone that we like to our level seems to aid in our attempts in communicating with them.      Kim Ki-Duk is one of the more controversial directors of Korea. His films are not for everyone but no one can deny that they are original.      …
review by . January 08, 2009
posted in ASIANatomy
I'm a fan of Kim Ki-Duk's work, granted he has a somewhat of an "outcast" director image in South Korea but his films never fail to engage me or even "warp" me into another marginalized world. It's small wonder that Kim's works enjoy more success abroad than in his native land. The magic of his film-making is that he takes the viewer to understand how certain worlds operate and how his characters set their rules that apply to that world. "BAD GUY" is a different approach …
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Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
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Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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