Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Korean "Thrillers": Breathless

Breathless (Ik-Joon Yang, 2008)
Moving away from the “revenge” narrative of the previous examples, Breathless retains the dark and violent atmosphere, but instead focuses on a complicated drama between an aggressive debt collector and a lonely high schoolgirl. While not a “thriller” per say, Breathless balances a simplistic story with heavy themes and notions. Social commentaries on child abuse, drug abuse and poverty, again show Korean cinema’s  determination to show the gritty nature of its society. Yet there’s something quite charming about the various relationships that initial start hollow and slightly abrupt, which then mature in a manner that develops though the course of the film. While I would argue it’s slightly too long at 130 minutes, Ik-Joon Yang takes the time to thoroughly build each character and the chemistry between them. The result is an engaging and rather traumatic series of contrasting intensities and experiences. Though the cinematography isn’t especially interesting, the performances are why Breathless manages to have such a resonating quality and withhold its sheer emotional impact. Yang Ik-June’s stern exterior slowly reveals a character that suffers, not simply from a dysfunctional rage, but from a sorrowed fragility. Meanwhile Kim Kkobbi’s troubled family life and subsequent rebellious attitude are personified through her mature and assertive performance. Overall Breathless is a gritty, yet somehow charming piece of drama cinema that has an brutal temperament, yet 

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