Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bedevilled (2010)

Town mouse visits country mouse, whereby both discover just how deeply messed up they are, setting off a chain of events involving sado-masochistic cruelty that's pretty full-on even for a South Korean revenge flick.

The delightful bleakness of this film results from its insistence that while the provinces are full of violent, petty-mined retards, the metropolis breeds soulless egotistical misanthropes. As this is not an environment in which redemptive arcs can take place, there are only one or two brief glimmers of real kindness: in the person of a boatman and a bank employee, as well as the more problematic case of a puta, whose fate on the island was one many questions we were left with.

In western stories, even when good doesn't precisely triumph over evil, some sort of stasis triumphs over chaos, but in most Korean movies of this sort, normality rarely achieves ascendency at any stage in the narrative. Chaos reigns. Revenge is usually the only thread that runs through from beginning to end, and it habitually presents a disturbingly amoral spectacle. One is never quite certain where the chain of events is heading, plot and character become detached along the way, then recombine in new forms, and the endings, are typically announced (if indeed announced at all) with a zap of very black humour.

In this particular instance we were left with a sense that the overall experience had been thoroughly satisfying, even though the story had once again failed to resolve in any of the familiar ways.

"Put bean paste on it". I will remember that one!


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