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.
| Original Score: 3/4
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.
Like many South Korean films, revenge is a major theme here, although the way Kim handles it is particularly subtle and surprising: It sneaks up on you.
May not rank with the operatic madness of Park Chan-wook, or the visceral overkill of Kim Jee-woon, but if you're still not sick of feeling sick, then Pieta might be the movie for you.
More philosophy than film at times, it asks questions without expecting easy answers. What is money? What is love? And what would you do for either?
Expectedly gruesome in some of its details. But it's the explicitness about capitalism's emotional wreckage that gives this micro-budgeted drama a gut-punch heft.
| Original Score: 4/5
The newest masterpiece of sex and brutality by South Korean wild man Kim Ki-duk.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Filled with feisty women and cowering men, "Pieta" twists human emotions into pretzels of perversion.
| Original Score: 5/5
Kim offers no easy answers, and never backs away from the toughness of the questions, in a film that's ugly in both its material and its presentation.
Thou shalt not borrow, nor maim those who owe interest, preaches this obsessive auteur, offering one more near-mute seeker of justice. The tragic perversity is gripping.
For all its cringe-inducing horror, "Pieta" is visually restrained, striking visceral blows with psychological precision while making little use of gore.
This is brilliant in some stretches and deplorable in others, with the director's usual extreme violence and depraved sexuality.
This tidy, ultimately moving thriller about a loan shark who meets a woman claiming to be his mother offers up the director's vintage blend of cruelty, wit and moral complexity.
An intriguing tale of redemption and rebirth ... that eventually segues into a more conventional revenge drama.
You might find yourself strangely moved by its oddball mix of ripe melodrama, overwrought violence and regional verisimilitude.
| Original Score: 3/5