Previously at the ICA - Films
23 Oct 2007
Park Chul-Hee's debut feature tells the story of a man who thinks he's on a straight road but finds - too late? - that it's actually quite crooked. It's a fantasy, but one with pretty deep roots in felt experience. The nameless protagonist (another astonishing performance from Shin Ha-Kyun, already extraordinary in Save the Green Planet and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance) is a hitman who is saving up for an operation to restore his speech; he justifies his career by accepting only targets who deserve to die, such as military thugs from the days of martial law. Of course, he's a hopeless romantic, obsessed with bullfighting and seafood, and so it's not all that surprising when he picks up a surrogate family, Josey Wales-style, as he tries to go about his business. And when things start to go wrong in his life, his surrogate 'wife' and 'son' are as much a millstone round his neck as a reminder of saner possibilities. It moves towards a climax which is convulsive and remarkably affecting. A personal triumph for Park, and a strong affirmation of the continuing vitality of Korean cinema.
Dir Park Chul-Hee, South Korea 2006, 124 mins