Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fantasia 2011: Bleak Night (2011)

Even though Yoon Sung-hyun's Bleak Night (Pasuggun) is about a father looking for the cause of his son's death, you'll definitely be surprised.

High school student Gi-tae (Lee Je-hoon) is dead. His father (Jo Sung-ha) has been absent of Gi-tae's life because of the time he gives to his shop. The father makes up for it by investigating on what caused his son's death. He finds a picture in which we see Gi Tae and his two best friends: Dong-yoon (Seo Jun-young), the tough guy with a heart, and Hee-joon, the weak guy.

The father locates Hee-joon. Though evasive, the latter said that he moved prior to Gi-tae's death and refers the man to Dong-yoon. Besides, as the father recalls, Dong-yoon didn't show up at Gi-tae's funeral. While the father investigates, an unstructured set of flashbacks show us the dissolution of the friendship between Gi-tae, Dong-yoon and Hee-joon.

Watching Bleak Night in its first half can be frustrating at times. The flashbacks are presented in a messy way. Moreover, the thin dialogues don't necessarily give us enough clues on what's wrong between the three teenagers when they're at loggerheads. Add to that the moments of silence.

Nonetheless, at the end of the day, director Yoon Sung-hyun understands that even between themselves friends are not always transparent. Besides, as the story progresses, Yoon does a damn good job by explaining us that Gi-tae had "friends" because many students didn't want to be bullied by him. Although his performance looks either bubbly, wooden or violent, Lee Je-hoon, as Gi-tae, helps us to see the growing feeling of solitude hidden behind his armour of toughness.

This is of course a film that might divide viewers. The messy structure of the flashbacks often slows down the pace. However, investing oneself in this film is gratifying. Besides, since this is the first feature film by Yoon Sung-hyun, I can't wait to see his next film.

Rating: 4.5/5

Origin:South Korea (2011)
Length:116 minutes
Genre:Psychological drama
Screenplay:Yoon Sung-Hyun
Director:Yoon Sung-hyun
Starring:Lee Je-hoon, Seo Jun-young and Park Jung-min

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