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Serious animation is no longer a novelty but the bleakness of this Korean toon is disturbing.
Leaving a girl with a rope mark on her neck, the bespectacled lead 'phones the old school pal, who is having domestic troubles of his own. During their night drinking and walking together, we see flashbacks to their school days, where they were at the bottom layer of a brutal system of bullying.
The director's first feature is done with limited movement and only occasional flashes of striking imagery - the animal headed class mates, the ugly ghost cat, simulated afternoon light. Using female voices for the boys is also alienating. The film is so intense that viewers are likely to forget the exposition and find themselves unsatisfied by the rapid wind-up.
Think of this as a curious companion to the similarly themed OLD BOY and part of the country's ultra-violence cycle, among which it is a stand out.
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