My Dear Desperado
Korea has an amazing Cinema industry. Like the United States there's lots of fluffy boy-girl silly movies, some overly violent ones but there are real masterpieces, stories told beautifully. This is one of them.
I could have titled this review, "From Selfishness to Selflessness."
I believe the original title of this in Korea was "My Gangster Lover," which does not do any justice to the beautiful story told here.
I'm not going to go into many details -- just some of my impressions. Just know that what you're getting here is a beautifully told story.
Jeong Yu-mi and Park Jong-hoon are perfect for their roles. Dong-chol Oh (Park Jong-hoon) is a middle-aged gangster who finds little fulfillment in his life. Sae-Hin Han is a young woman of promise who, having grown up in the country, gets her first professional job in Seoul. Unfortunately the company goes bankrupt, her boyfriend leaves her for a job somewhere else and she's forced to find cheaper rent in a poorer neighborhood.
She soon finds she has moved next to an exasperatingly selfish man. When he walks out to see all her stuff outside and asks why nobody's helping her move in she tells him the movers wanted extra for that. Dong-chol expresses outrage that they wanted extra money for moving in, saying they must be a bunch of jerks (or something of that nature). Sae-hin's eyes light up with hope as she realizes her next door neighbor is outraged and now she will get some help.
It doesn't happen. As Sae-hin watches in disbelief, Dong-chol simply walks off and leaves her to the task, still muttering under his breath about how selfish these movers are.
You get the picture. She has to live next to this guy! And it gets worse before it gets better!
So what this movie is about is a guy who can feel empathy but just doesn't quite get that maybe he should be involved in the solution sometimes.
I love the way, writer/director Kim Kwang-sik weaves, in essence, 3 endings to this. The first is somewhat sad, but fulfilling. But wait, there's more. Still sad, but happy and you know that's the end. But wait! Oh, wow! Amazing!
Let me just say that Jeong Yu-mi's slow-motion smile at the end makes watching the movie to the end worth it!