• Unrated, 1 hr. 44 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Kim Ki-Duk , Ki-duk Kim
    In Theaters:
    May 17, 2013 Limited
    On DVD:
    Jul 23, 2013
  • Drafthouse Films


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Pieta Reviews

Page 2 of 6
June 4, 2014
Not the first time I've said this, and it's very unlikely it'll be the last, but Korea is the land 1001 revenge thrillers. Thematically, while many of these films may be incredible, they're all pretty similar. They all follow the same plot points almost to a T. I don't mean that as a negative, it's just how the game is. But this film, takes that concept of revenge and absolutely flips it on its head. Not that I think this will revolutionize the genre, but it offered a very unique twist on a very crowded genre. And it tells a compelling, and incredibly dark, story in about as effective a manner as is humanly possible. Which is strange coming from Kim ki Duk. Not that his films are pretentious or anything, though some would argue, but I think he's the type of filmmaker that works best on an open-ended story. Where you can make your own conclusion as to what's happened, or there's a debate about the film's events and their veracity. This is very cut and dried film, it lays all its cards on the table, as it relates to the narrative. That's not a negative at all, it's the opposite, but it is strange coming from Kim Ki Duk. The film is quite dark, and ultimately, very tragic, so if you're easily depressed then this is certainly not the film for you. Its darkness is another positive, it's certainly very unflinching when it comes to telling its story. This may have SOME spoilers, so skip ahead. It's a mother's elaborate vengeance to teach the incredibly cruel loan shark, who drove her handicapped, at the loan shark's hands, son to suicide, the consequences of his actions as a loan shark while also giving him the mother he never had. Lee, the loan shark, believing that this woman is his real mother chooses to turn over a new leaf and to quit his job. It's simple to see that this is suggesting that if Lee's real mother had never abandoned him, he never would've gone down the path he did. It's also clear he has intimacy issues with women because of this abandonment. Basically Jang Mi-sun, the mother, is going to give Lee the mother he always wanted before taking her away from him, again, and crushing him emotionally, by committing suicide in front of him and making it look like a homicide. That's pretty heavy stuff right there and Lee's reaction to this is equally as heavy. This is one of those great films that you never care to watch again because it's a movie that completely takes it out of you. It's not Amour, or even Requiem for a Dream, but it's not a film I plan on watching again. I still think it's an excellent film though, great performances and a great story make this a must-see. It's not exactly the most subtle of films, but that doesn't lessen its impact at all.
May 24, 2014
a dark movie about cruelty, love, revenge, and forgiving.
March 30, 2014
Perversely twisted tasty morsel of revenge beyond comprehension!
D.A. Zapata
March 29, 2014
Pieta, at first watch, is both malicious and discomforting both in plot and in aesthetics. The mood is a constant state of depravity and joylessness, encompassed in a dark and impoverished setting. However, immediately upon completion, you can feel the dark humanistic reality of the film begin to settle within you. As the final scene fades, the screen remains black for quite a while as the music escalates, and an uneasiness crawls over you as you come to realize that this film is much more than a one-dimensional dark and twisted film. It has existential meaning and passion that resonates with the things we define our lives by: "Love, honor, violence, fury, hatred, jealousy, revenge, death." Labeling the film as either morally depraved or morally passionate is a matter one's experience of the film, which is astounding despite its resonating misery. This is one film in which you won't smile a single time, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
March 13, 2014
Raw, fascinating, emotional and makes you think. This is a work of art that for once, isn't too artsy or pretentious. A little too much of the handheld camera style, but other than that a deeply strange but satisfying tale.
February 22, 2014
the concepts of good and evil are perfectly captured in this work. Evil as negation of good, repentance as a result of this juxtaposition. The concepts of Christian philosophy are perfectly performed by Kim Ki-Duk.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2014
The overwhelming dramatic strength of this gut-wrenching tale of revenge makes us forgive its undeniable lack of subtlety (especially regarding its social and political ambitions) and its absurdly amateurish direction (the awful zooms and camera movements).
mark d.
January 31, 2014
2012 69th Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion
2012 32nd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Film Best Director - Kim Ki-duk
Best Actress - Jo Min-su
2012 49th Grand Bell Awards Best Actress - Jo Min-su Special Jury Prize - Kim Ki-duk
2012 Korean Popular Culture and Art Awards Eun-gwan Order of Cultural Merit - Kim Ki-duk Okgwan Order of Cultural Merit - Jo Min-su Okgwan Order of Cultural Merit - Lee Jung-jin
2012 Asia Pacific Screen Awards Screen International Jury Grand Prize - Jo Min-su
2012 33rd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Film
2012 2nd Shin Young-kyun Arts and Culture Foundation's Beautiful Artist Awards
Grand Prize - Kim Ki-duk
2012 Korean Art Critics' Conference Best Artist Award - Kim Ki-duk
2012 Women in Film Korea Awards Best Technical Award - Park In-young (music director)
2012 Satellite Awards Best Foreign Language Film
2012 9th Dubai International Film Festival Best Director (Muhr AsiaAfrica) - Kim Ki-duk 2012 Korea Film Actor's Association Lifetime Achievement Award - Kim Ki-duk Achievement Award - Jo Min-su Achievement Award - Lee Jung-jin
2013 KOFRA Film Awards (Korea Film Reporters Association) Best Film of 2012
Best Actress - Jo Min-su
2013 Fantasporto Director's Week Best Film Best Actress - Jo Min-su
2013 Asian Film Awards People's Choice for Favorite Actress - Jo Min-su
familiar s

Super Reviewer

January 28, 2014
The lead character is a cruelly exploiting character who lends money to the needful with the condition to return 10 times of it within a given period or turns them into a cripple and fetches their insurance money. However, things begin to change when a woman comes into picture claiming to be his mother. Slowly, but gradually he's convinced that she's his mother. What follows is just as predictable. The problem here is that the movie lacks in emotions, performances, and its brutal but ineffective story. It's just a ~100 minutes ride staring at different slums.
December 31, 2013
The title and overall theme are disconnected from the heart of the movie which comes off a "shocker" film. Good but could have been a better film, it has a Quentin Tarantino feel to it. Gritty and tragic yet profound and unforgettable. True to all the postings this film's a hit-or-miss. Glad it wasn't! Well-deserved Venice award.
January 10, 2014
"Pieta may seem to have some holes in the storyline or awkwardness in it's acting (same facial expression throughout the entire movie.) But do not expect this movie to give you enough explanation. And to sit through this film you have to endure scenes of rape, torture, incest, and some gore. You do need a fairly good stomach to put up with these parts of the story. Love him or hate him. It's difficult to know how to feel at the end of it. Maybe you use your own imagination.."
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2014
Kim Ki-Duk is trying to tell an interesting story but the shock tactics used distract from the overall message. There is absolutely no depth to the story or characters what so ever. Not important you cry? I totally disagree. Is this the same guy that directed the wonderful Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring? The direction is visually sound but everything else is second rate, cheap and lazy. There are about 10 existential 'Oedipus complex' French films that I need to go back to and award an extra half star to thanks to this film. Honestly, there are countless South Korean films that tell the same story but in a much more successful way.
July 22, 2013
One of the least necessary movies ever made, because while it has so much to say it trades that for spectacle and a complete lack of cinematic style. I hate few movies, but this one makes the list.
December 24, 2013
Very unusual, awkward and weird, but watchable.
September 30, 2013
Lacks some of the gut-punch of Park Chan-wook or Bong Joon-ho, but Kim Ki-duk's Golden Lion-winning "Pieta" is just as lyrically demented as anything out of Park's "Vengeance" trilogy, and handled with an equal amount of masterful complexity as Bong's so-far watermark "Mother". Certain critics will defy as sadistic sacrilege "Pieta's" theme of violent, purportedly biblical regression (the title refers to a religious artwork in which the Virgin Mary sorrowfully cradles the dead body of Jesus.) Let 'em bitch. Writer-director Kim isn't a filmmaker who lets the status quo be. In somberly piecing together a fraction of a particularly fucked-up family tree, "Pieta" doesn't shy away from the still-wet blood on the leaves. (78/100)
December 8, 2013
Revenge can make you blind
November 17, 2013
A facinating revenge drama..some shoking twist and moments..and some nyc use of sound of silence..
October 30, 2013
Steel yourself for intense visuals and visceral reactions throughout this film, described by the director as "delving into the discord of human relations within an extreme capitalist system." It is heavy on the discord with only one character who has redeeming qualities, which speaks volumes about the director's vision of money and greed. It is definitely not for everyone, and it's hard to determine who will find the film worthwhile.
October 29, 2013
Cold, sadistic thriller that didn't really engage my brain. Some stylish, hyper-violent scenes and good performances but I felt I had seen it all before and compared to a slightly similar film, Miike's 'Visitor Q', this one paled in comparison for me.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2013
Fascinating, blackly funny and often disturbing film from Kim Ki-Duk, with larger political and social themes at play in the background, and a parable-like narrative. The film often verges into overwrought melodrama and is not as successful or as satisfying as Ki-Duk's more subtle 3-Iron, but it's visually arresting, nicely acted and pleasingly bizarre in places.
Page 2 of 6
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