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It lacks subtlety and depth of character, but Pieta gets by with committed performances and a darkly ambitious, deceptively simple message.
All Critics (53)
| Top Critics (20)
| Fresh (38)
| Rotten (15)
The film is far from a masterpiece ... but it bristles with Kim's trademark anger and agony.
There is a touch too much of the handheld camera, but in general one senses that the very quality of the way this film was made is one of its justifications for being and for its raw moments.
After being subjected to disturbing scenes of abject cruelty, rape and torture, my reactions shifted from squeamish revulsion to a reluctant yet growing appreciation for Kim's thematic ambition.
The film's big reveal may not come as that much of a surprise; you may figure out where it's going well before the end. But it's the getting there that is, if not exactly fun, then certainly hypnotic.
Fascination returns at the stirring climax, when the plot neatly twists and the film's apparently simple message turns deeper, and blacker.
A mother's love for her child takes on brutal new meaning in Pieta, a film by Kim Ki-duk that's as hard to watch as it is to forget.
Die-hard devotees may still find some vague form of enjoyment lurking beneath Pietà's drab and depressing exterior, but for the majority there's little on show here to make it worth wholly recommending.
It's agonising to watch the two lead performers going deep into the sludge.
A vicious, torture-happy debt collector with some severe sexual peccadilloes is, erm, softened by the return of his estranged mother in Kim Ki-duk's deeply unsettling Pieta.
Possesses a sad, quiet power. Kim's film isn't as a cool as those made by his compatriots. But it is, in its own way, just as memorable.
Succeeds in repulsing and enlightening viewers simultaneously, even if its views on self-sacrifice and redemption are cynical.
This is a grisly fable that never goes where we expect it to. And it has some important things to say about both revenge and sacrifice.
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).
'Pieta'. A delightfully twisted revenge tale and economic parable! A mother always lends a helping hand to her son.
The camera work turning inexplicably amateurish at crucial moments took slightly away from the film.
In "Pieta," Gang-Do(Jeong-jin Lee) is a thug who collects for a loan shark. When the customers cannot pay the loan back in a month with 1000% interest, he cripples them, using the money from the disability settlement to pay off the debt. One day in walks Mi-Son(Min-soo Jo) into his life, cleaning the mess in his apartment before claiming to be his long lost mother. Confused and angry, he rapes her.
First, a little bit of business. Except for the rape, all of the graphic violence happens offscreen. So, anybody looking for dismememberment and other bits of gruesomeness should look elsewhere. Because what Kim Ki-duk is interested in to his credit is the lingering after effect of that violence on those that now have to care for the victims. Even before that, most of the people preyed on seemed be the most vulnerable from the lower classes. Gang-Do does not take any enjoyment out of this or anything else in his life, for that matter, as he has never had anybody care for him and now leads the most basic of existences. All of which sets up an intriguing and dark nurture versus nature debate that gets resolved in the movie's own twisted sort of way.
For those who might not know Pieta (pity in English) is the first Korean film to win the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. Not only that, but Pieta is also South Korea submission for the 85Th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film category. It won plenty of other Awards to and will continue do so, but falls short of greatness.
Pieta is about a loan shark who is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle after the arrival of a mysterious woman claiming to be his long-lost mother. The film is a dark drama that will be unpleasant to watch. If you can't handle the sight of a grown man giving his mother flesh from his thigh to eat than this movie is not for you. It is consistently depressing, but the twisted mother-son relationship is compelling material. Though hard to watch times, the relationship carries many meaning and an interesting story of itself. The strained relationship is interesting to analyze and a good subject matter for a movie. Unfortunately the compelling material in the first halve of the film is ruined when the second halve becomes a film about revenge. The second halve is not as interesting because the mother and son do not interact as much. It becomes more depressing to view as we see the loan shark spiraling into depression. Though the impact of earlier events are missing. The ending of the film works in context, except loses meaning due to the second halve slowly declining in quality. Overall though, Pieta is an interesting and dark compelling drama that will in no doubt have you move.
The acting from leading actors Lee Jung-jin and Jo Min-su is what makes the film strong. Lee Jung-jin cold approach to his character is the proper opposite for Jo Min-su whose more sympathetic. It also works well in reverse when the two actors character change throughout the course of the film. The film does include other actors, though mostly limited and effective when on screen. The visuals of the film are visceral with primarily dark color in nearly every shot. The heavy uses of dark blue in the film properly get across the bitterness and harsh reality of the world your viewing.
Pieta is a compelling drama that falls short of greatness in the second halve short. It is Lee Jung-jin and Jo Min-su strong acting abilities that help the film even in the writing weakest of moments. Pieata is a harsh drama that one does not watch for entertainment, but if you give it a chance it will move you in a way few drama can.
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