Korean drama is my LOVE. It’s been my source of entertainment and consolation (when I’m down) for a decade and a half now that there is no way I’d give up watching for anything else. But if there is anything capable of topping K-drama for me in any way, it would most definitely be Chungmuro – Korean Cinema.
I’ve seen quite a lot the past year, ranging from award winning films like The Man From No Where to box-office favorites like Sunny, The Bow: Ultimate Weapon and many many more. Loved some, liked some and generally enjoyed the lot that I’ve seen. I don’t know what it is about Korean cinema, I just find their films unusually intriguing, compelling and emotion evocative. I don’t need a handsome actor or a pretty girl to grace my screen, as long as it hooks me in, I’m all good. As long as it moves me, makes me laugh or smile to my heart’s content and gets me into tears even at the randome-est of moments, I usually end up over-looking and doing away with the flaws and shortcomings. I’m just that easy to please. haha.
Last year offered us quite a batch of quality films, but to me, it’s this one film titled Bleak Night which made the best cut for me. A brutally honest film about friendship and its complications. A film about human insecurities. A film which made me re-think about how relationships can be so fragile and susceptible to rupture by unintentional words said or gestures done. A film which reminded me of my somewhat gloom memories in high school (I bet a lot of people have been thru such a phase).
This is not a full-length review, so no worries about me going into a long-winded and incessant frenzy over the film. I’ve done quite a bit of that in my Shin Ha Kyun posts, so I digress. 😛 It also doesn’t help that this film also needs to be seen and felt.
Bleak Night Trailer:
Bleak Night @ Youtube – with English Subs
This film may not appeal to the masses because of its title. Everything is pretty much portrayed in a greyish and bleak tone, and execution isn’t shown in the most flow-y fashion (with scenes going back and forth between flashbacks and current scenes). But in no way during my viewing of the film did I feel disjointed or disconnected in any way. I felt for the 3 main characters, their plights and inner struggles despite their grey-ish and shady characterizations. They made me wonder about how it felt to be insecure and lonely. They reminded me of my high school days (I had such a period) which I would never want to revisit. It was painful and frustrating. And it’d cost me my confidence. I’m glad I’ve moved on and past those days, but it does hurt to be reminded once in a while.
For those who want an honest depiction of friendship put to the test, this is the film for you. Those who want to have a taste of how insecurity can plague one’s confidence and self-worth, this film will show you bits and pieces of that. It is not for the faintest of hearts.
Direction by 29-year old newbie writer/director Yoon Sung Hyun will give you surprises, showing skills that you’d normally see from experienced and more well-known directors out there. Connecting abrupt flashback scenes and current scenes isn’t an easy feat (one may easily get lost ) but Director Yoon manages to overcome that and presents to us a unique look into adolescent complexities without undermining the flow of the story. But amongst all, it is the impeccable and convincing acting by the main leads Jo Sung Ha, Lee Je Hoon, Seo Jun Young and Park Jung Min which make the film for me. The carry their characters with such nuanced emotions that you can’t help but feel sorry and deeply for each of them. In particular, a noteworthy performance by Lee Je Hoon who plays the centric character Ki Tae in the film. The way he imbues a sense of desperation and weakness into his confident and dominant self (mostly shown in front of his friends), it’s amazing. Definitely a performance way superior to that of his in his most recent The Front Line.
I think Bleak Night needs to be watched with a prepared heart for discomfort (the sort which may remind some of you of some unwanted memories in high school), but also with an open heart, to accept that RL relationships aren’t always smooth sailing and as simple as we think or as we want it to be. The ending doesn’t offer us an exact conclusion to the happenings in the film, but nevertheless doesn’t feel cop out at all.
When times are bleak, and you feel so hopeless and lonely, it creeps up to you and haunts you. Nothing is as easy as it seems.
Film Rating: 8.5 / 10
Credits: video pics uploaders