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Bad Guy

In Too lazy to assign a category on February 16, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Kim Ki-Duk, the award-winning director of The Isle and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, has created a lurid fable of obsessive love, using a potent mix of dark romance, surrealist technique, and violent action. With Bad Guy, Kim paints a picture of a dark, hauntingly unforgettable neon-lit world, where two unlikely lovers meet on their own lonely street. While strutting through Downtown Seoul, Han-gi, a local gangland pimp, spots young Sunhwa, a pretty, middle-class college student, waiting on a park bench. He sits next to her, creating a disparate scene of two classes in soft harmony, until she sneers at his advances and rushes into the arms of her preppy boyfriend. Offended, he grabs her and forcefully kisses her. Sun-hwa demands an apology, and when Han-Gi refuses, he is beaten by a group of soldiers who had witnessed the assault. As a final insult, Sun-hwa spits in his face while he is restrained, humiliating him. Soon after, Sun-hwa makes the mistake of taking a seemingly forgotten wallet filled with cash. She is apprehended by the owner, and forced to a pay a huge sum or be turned into the police. With no money, she signs a contract that results in her being sold into prostitution to repay the debt. Whisked away to the neon colors of a Seoul brothel, her introduction to street life is harsh and cold, her teacher an iron-hearted woman with only disdain for the untrained Sun-hwa. As she is brought into her drab room for her first encounter, we learn who is really behind her imprisonment. Watching from behind a double mirror in her room, sits Han-gi, the 'Bad Guy.' As Sun-hwa descends further and further into street life, she takes on the full-fledged traits of a john-luring prostitute. Han-gi's curtain parts to reveal Sun-hwa's harsh education through the mirror, and his tears, creeping through the hardness of his thuggish face, expose his growing feelings for her. Han-gi's language is reduced to facial gestures, his throat marked with the long lash of a scar straight across from ear to ear. Bad Guy is a striking direction for Kim Ki-Duk and modern Korean cinema. Only Kim Ki-Duk's brilliant eye could transcend the conventions of traditional narrative to bring this fantasy-fueled clash between the classes to the light of day. Bad Guy exposes the virile beauty of pained yet true love, no matter what dark street it may be confined to. After a failed escape attempt, Sun-hwa is taken to the seashore by Han-gi. Here she is confronted with a series of mysterious torn photographs that seem to suggest a hidden past or even a possible pre-determined future between Han-gi and herself. The film turns even further away from traditional narrative structure as we see Han-gi survive several attempts on his life that would have killed any mortal man. We begin to see the world of Bad Guy less as a concrete reality and more as a canvas that has been strung to challenge our concepts of Love and Fate. Bad Guy marks a striking direction for Kim Ki-Duk and modern Korean cinema. Only Kim Ki-Duk's brilliant eye could transcend the conventions of traditional narrative to expose the virile beauty of pained yet true love, no matter what dark street it may be confined to. — © Life Size Entertainment (Source: Rotten Tomatoes)

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