Bad Guy Kim Ki-duk

Like Chan-wook Park's Oldboy, Bad Guy is another Korean film about torture and imprisonment that saw the light of day here in Canada this year. Originally released back in 2001, the film centres on the muted Han-Gi (Cho Je-Hyun), a rank pimp who discovers the beautiful Sun-Hwa (Seo Won) in public one day and shockingly assaults her with a kiss without reason. Locals physically attack Han-Gi and as retaliation Sun-Hwa spits in his face, humiliating him and setting up the motivation for his revenge. Han-Gi wastes no time diabolically setting up a trap where Sun-Hwa is caught lifting a wallet and ordered to pay back money she didn't take. This plan is effective and throws her into prostitution as her only means of earning money. Sun-Hwa is sent to work for Han-Gi and he watches her behind a two-way mirror, thus setting the tone for this deeply disturbing film. Crossing into a few different genres (action/thriller, drama, traumatised romance), Bad Guy's allure is the deeply disturbing relationship between kidnapper and hostage. There is a love story going on but it's flawed, with so many hindrances Dr. Phil would slit his wrists. The idea of revenge is trapped between humiliating her for what she did, the precious girl she is and Han-Gi's perverted sexual fantasies. Unlike Oldboy, the climax isn't unsettling because of a shocking twist; it's unsettling because there is no twist or answer. While some may find the ending to be dismissive, stripping the film of any point, it leaves Bad Guy open for deliberation, a subtle trait some of these psychosexual thrillers could use more of. Plus: interview, trailer. (Life Size/SMA)