I don’t write too many articles these days, but the other night I watched a film and felt inspired to write a short review about it. The film in question is a Korean film (with subtitles) called Breathless. It was shown on Film 4 a few weekends ago as part of their foreign film season. It was shown at the ungodly time of about 2 o’clock in the morning so I recorded it.
I had managed to watch most of the foreign film season, most were good , but others were utter shite….but Breathless really caught my eye. initially because of the warning in the synopsis ‘…VERY STRONG LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE …’ This sounded like my cup of tea.
The lead protagonist (played by Yang Ik Joon (who also wrote, directed and produced the film)) is called Sang-Hoon, a truly despicable, volatile, debt collector with a particular passion for violence and intimidation. he beats up his debtors with vigour, but his anger often over spilled onto his work colleagues without warning in random acts of violence.
A chance meeting with a high-school girl called Yeon-Hue, that he met on his way home is the main plot of the film. Despite initially spitting at her and punching her, she shows no fear of him, this seems to draw her to him. We learn through flashbacks that both main characters suffered from domestic violence while growing up and throughout their lives. Yeon-Hue sees the best in Sang-Hoon and an awkward relationship ensues. This friendship seems to help Sang-Hoon develop greater relationships with his sister, nephew, work colleagues and father.
You can see a twist coming from a mile off, and you know it can only go in two directions. Although I kind of knew what was coming, I never expected it to happen in the desperately shocking and heart-breaking way that it does.
Anyone who is easily offended by bad language and gratuitous violence should give this film a wide birth, but I implore you to overlook the initial violence and profanity and give the relationship a chance. I decided to write this review because I happened upon this film by chance, and I didn’t want anybody else to miss out on this little-known gem. Please catch this film if you can and let me know what you think. Cheers.
Martyn Taylor is a 32 year-old father of three and lives in Hull. His pastimes include watching 80s action films over and over again and and debating the all-time Premiership XI with Mr Miles. His knowledge of American sitcoms of the 90s stands second to none. He once walked into a men’s public lavatory absent-mindedly singing the theme tune from Two And A Half Men. You can find him on http://www.twitter.com/shirleysblower but he never tweets, so just follow him on here.