Bad Guy

Bad Guy (2001) 
South Korea
Director: Kim Ki-duk

The film begins with an attractive college student , Sun-Hwa, sitting on a bench. The menacing looking Han-Gi spots her and appears to be instantly obsessed. The girls boyfriend comes, Han-Gi leaves momentarily only to return and force a long kiss on her. After he is beaten badly by some military-types that just happen to be nearby, Sun-Hwa curses at him and spits in his face after he refuses to apologize for what he has done. Han-Gi then devises a plan to force Sun-Hwa into becoming a prostitute in the seedy red-light district. The rest of the movie basically depicts the physical and mental deterioration of the college girl-turned-hooker and Han-Gi's growing attachment to the girl which is mostly seen via a one-way mirror in a room adjacent to Sun Hwa's room.

When the presenter spoke of the movie prior to its screening she made me expect a lot more violence, at least some serious brutality. Other than some minor sexual violence, it was actually pretty tame in that regard. Cho Jae-Hyun did a fantastic job as Han-Gi, the bad guy the film's title refers to. For the majority of the film he had no dialog and conveyed everything through his facial expressions and mannerisms, no small task to do well. The voyeuristic aspects seemed to be more focused on Han-Gi's obsession with Sun-Hwa rather than a sexual thing which it easily could have degraded into. My biggest problem with the movie is that it left me with too many unanswered questions. This could have been the fault of the subtitling or simply my ignorance of Korea's prostitution underworld. An interesting movie to say the least; Director Kim Gi-Duk created an artistic and avant-garde depiction of what could have easily turned into your more generic exploitation fare.



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