Nabbeun namja (Bad Guy) (2001)
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Critic Reviews for Nabbeun namja (Bad Guy)
The audience is subjected to a series of emotional contortions, encouraged to experience them like a voyeur, and then scolded for doing so.
His fascination with allegory and symbols is evident here, too, but his narrative strays too far from the dreamlike towards the just plain dumbfounding.
The film is filled with lovely images (Kim studied painting in France), and ultimately becomes, against all expectations, quite moving.
Its international reputation seems difficult to justify.
As a case study of one disturbed woman it might be interesting; presented as some sort of deathless love story, it's merely distasteful.
Audience Reviews for Nabbeun namja (Bad Guy)
Probably one of the most twisted love stories ever made into a film. It's set in South Korea and is about a gangster who finds instant attraction towards a young college student and becomes so infactuated he conjures a plan that has her forced into prostitution under his watchful eye in order to pay off her loan. It's an interesting film for sure but it's quite disturbing and unpleasant as the poor female victim struggles with her desperate situation who grows to both loathe and love the man responsible for her predicament. The 'Bad Guy' also struggles with his love and guilt towards the woman whilst trying to maintain order in and around the brothel he monitors leading to some violent confrontations with clients and other gangsters. Very well acted by all. It did have some slow moments though. It won't be for everyone - especially feminists - but it's worth one viewing for those not easily offended.
There's some exceptional visual trickery present in Bad Guy - Kim Ki-Duk's play at duality and reflection with constant graphic references to glass and mirrors, though obvious, yields some great-looking results - but unfortunately the metaphor just doesn't sustain Bad Guy. It's an interesting byproduct of a film that preoccupies itself more with repetitive scenes of violence or threatened violence, which starts out menacing but falls victim to diminishing returns until you've basically tuned all the sound and fury out. Worse yet are the utterly bland main characters, a hopeless and unsympathetic brat-cum-prostitute and the progenitor of Kim's archetypal but unpolished silent man of action. Like the film, these characters and their respective performances are competent, but completely lacking in dramatic inflection. You spend nearly the entire movie waiting for it to break the cycle of total sameness, but by the time it finally does you're beyond caring. Totally skippable. It doesn't even have the distinction of being significant chronologically for Kim - The Isle came first and is, by all accounts, better. It's good that he went on to make much more provocative, fleshed-out films than this. I guess it served as a stepping stone for him.
Not just a sick movie, Imo it manages to make a few fair points, Thoought provoking with some impressive moments
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