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DVD Review

DVD cover

A Bloody Aria


Starring: Han Suk-kyu, Lee Moon-shik and Oh Dal-su
ICA Films
RRP: £12.71
Certificate: 18
Available 23 February 2009

Yeong-sun, a famous singer, takes his protégé for a drive in the country in order to use his position to take advantage of her.  In-jeong escapes and is picked up by a local on a moped who insists that they make a quick stop to visit his friends - friends who are presently abusing Yeong-sun. As the group gather together to cook meat beside a river, a sadistic power game begins...

A Bloody Aria (Guta-yubalja-deul, 2006) is a dark, almost black, comedy which looks at the power relationships between the abused and their abuser. Directed by Shin-yeon Won, from his own script, it examines how power relationships are often fluid - depending as much on the people involved as on the situation.

The film treads some very familiar territory in its simple tale of city folk finding themselves at the mercy of some odd ball locals. The beginning of the film shows some promise as Shin-yeon sets up the initial abuse of power, when the singer attempt to rape his companion. But just like the car, which gets stuck in the sand, the central major portion of the film gets stuck in one violent act after another until your senses are numb. The denouement goes some way in pulling the film back from the precipice, but it ends up as too little too late.

It's not all bad, the acting is good especially from Bong-yeong (played by Lee Mun-Sik), the gang's leader, and the director, does pull off challenging the audiences expectations - though in some cases, especially the young man that the group have in a sack who suddenly decides he knows martial arts and is able to kick their collective butts, stretches the audiences credulity.

Not sure what the final disc will be like. The review disc only had a stereo audio track with burnt in subtitles and no extras. The picture is widescreen.

Although it remains in the same genre of Deliverance and Wolf Creek, its overlong central section unbalances the film as a whole.

Still if you like movies where people spend a lot of time beating the bejesus out of each other, this one might be for you.


Charles Packer

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