A silent pimp (the only words he speaks – a couple of brief sentences late in the film – are also the last words spoken in the film) sees a young college girl and instantly falls obsessively in love. When she humiliates him after rejecting his crude advances, he arranges events to drive her into debt and legal problems, and from there into prostitution. He watches her in the brothel every night through a two-way mirror, as she descends further and further into the degradation of this world.< ...p>
If I said, after the above description, that this is also a love story, the reader might understandably be tempted to run shrieking from such a work. And it is true that what unfolds on the screen can be very difficult to watch, especially since virtually any preconception the viewer brings to such a storyline is relentlessly challenged. However, as might be expected from the director of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, this is also a film of considerable beauty (despite its gritty setting) and strange, almost supernatural events. Very spare in its dialogue, this is a film that shows a great deal but tells very little, leaving one to wrestle with what it presents for some time afterward.
Though a quiet film, all things considered, Bad Guy still makes excellent use of its sound. The music has a very strong, almost sinister bass line. The environmental effects are superb – traffic is good, but rain is incredible, with every drop sounding as if it was individually placed.
The setting means this isn’t going to be visually sumptuous in that manner of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, but it looks pretty fine all the same. The blacks are very good, the colours are solid, there is no edge or grain enhancement, and the image is sharp. The layer transition, however, is very badly timed.
Most of the extras here are wordless and do not add much to the viewing experience: the trailer, a scored still gallery, a bunch of behind-the-scenes footage with no explanation. But the interview with director Kim Ki-Duk is fascinating. The menu’s intro is animated and scored, and the rest of the menu is scored with pulsing letters.
Definitely worth seeing, but be prepared for some big arguments if you watch it with friends.
Special Features List
- Director Interview
- Still Gallery
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage
- Theatrical Trailer