[director Ryu Seung-wan]
Color 95 min
Cast: Ryu Seung-wan, Ryu Seung-beom, Park Sung-bin
This movie has a strange and interesting pedigree. It began with a short film called “Action.” Later, the director made a short film called “Nightmare” with the same cast members playing the same characters. Then, a short called “Modern Man,” spinning off of the characters from “Nightmare.” When all this began to looked interrelated, the director created another short called “Die Bad,” which, when added to the other films, became the complete movie. Six years after “Action” was made, the feature film Die Bad was born.
The first three sections are excellent. Maybe even brilliant. Director Ryu Seung-wan shows the indelible effects of violence, charting a young man’s descent into a violent gangster lifestyle. But the fourth section has a very different feel, as if it had been made partly to tie the series together and tie up all the loose ends. While the first three parts have a kind of documentary realism (even in “Nightmare” when the protagonist is facing actual ghosts), the fourth part has more of the feel of melodrama. It’s a strange mix that makes for a messy movie. It’s great, though, to see a movie that really deals with violence in a mature, sensitive way rather than with some kind of exploitative fascination. And in the very end, the absolute horror of violence takes over the screen, and we can see that director Ryu Seung-Wang(???) has found his way back to where he started.