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[HanCinema's Hall of Fame Review] "Bad Guy"

2013/12/07

In the Spotlight this Week: "Bad Guy" by Kim Ki-duk

Kim Ki-duk is the South's dark alchemist, an atypical cine-wizard with a sinister searchlight philosophy that burns to the third degree. From his corrupt caldron the world has been exposed and salted with some of the most devastating deliverances of morality found to be flickering at 24fps. His award-winning filminds are shot with sick skill and a demonic sense of knowing that perverts our gaze, harassing our moral codes into disorder and forcing them to reconstitute themselves into God-less variants. And we dare not take them with us out of the Event. His seventh seal "Bad Guy" (2002) is a forced marriage between sex and violence; one that bleeds a coagulated cunning that is both sadistic and stunning-a psychosexual lashing ill-disguised as a requiem for cardinal (dis)pleasure. And till death they depart.

Han-gi (Cho Jae-hyun) is a mute pimp on the hunt for love. While posing as a stranger he steals a long and penetrating kiss from virgin Sun-hwa (Seo Won); forcing his pleasures upon her with an unseen power so relentless than even her boyfriend's physical berating cannot curb. Like Incubus, Han-gi has laid his lips on his fatalised fancy, her free will exorcized from her untouched body without her even knowing.  Beautiful Sun-hwa is unable to escape his beholding eye; even after the passage of salvia has passed, the slickness of his touch dried and digested, she has been taken-whether she knows it, wants it, or objects.

She is a virgin, untouched and delicious. But Sun-hwa's days of strolling sidewalks and cutely flirting with her boyfriend are over, her gift no longer hers to tease or please with. She is a red-lit object now caged in a cruel district alongside other loose legs and tight fists. She has no choice; she tries to run but this hunter is proficient in the chase. She tries to resist, but this demon is absolute in his courting. Her assigned room is small and sex-dressed, and the door is closed from within but opens easily with a perverted penny from the outside. Men, strange men, are coming to have her-again and again, and again until her debt to the mute monster is cleared. But it will never be so. The game has been rigged; her fate was sealed with a raping kiss stolen under the sleeping sun for all to see.

"Bad Guy" is violent and viscous in its portrayal of sick love. It is a mutilated musing on how dastardly change may suddenly swoop in and seize, shoving us into an acidic current we thought not to exist nor cared to contemplate. Kim Ki-duk snares his characters with pre-determined cruelty, but allows us to watch them-slowly, carefully and in detail-as they dance to the beat of a disturbed and silent puppet master. The film is terrifying tragedy cum sadomasochistic fairy tail, a violation of everything that exists outside its 100 minutes of clockwork cynicism. Watch it alone, don't tell anyone, and try to forget that you enjoyed every second of Kim's twisted tale.

- C.J. Wheeler (chriscjw@gmail.com@KoreaOnTheCouch)

 

Available on DVD from Amazon and YESASIA

DVD (En Sub) DVD HK (En Sub)

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