Violent thug Crocodile lives under a bridge by the Han River in Seoul together with a peddling boy and a homeless old man. Crocodile saves a beautiful young woman Hyun-Jung from suicide by drowning, but only to use her for sex. Yet, for some reason the woman, betrayed by her lover, stays with Crocodile, and a peculiar family-like friendship forms between the four homeless people. Crocodile gets in ever deeper trouble because of his mindlessly violent temper, and eventually Hyun-Jung decides to attempt suicide again.Written by
I often quote Kim Ki-Duk as my favourite director of all time, partly because of his prolific output (I'm glad he numbers his films, I was losing count!) and his consistently emotional style. While I absolutely adore the "new-wave" Kim Ki-Duk (3-Iron, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...And Spring, The Bow), I also thoroughly enjoy his earlier, grittier films (The Isle, Address Unknown). This film, his debut, is possibly the best and grittiest of the early films.
In a setting that stands somewhere between urban and rural, and filled with Kim Ki-Duk's beloved water motif, we see three misfits (a boy, the title character Crocodile and an elderly man) inexplicably living together on a platform under a bridge. Crocodile is an aggressive character with the shortest of fuses, and storms around as if the world owes him something. But there's another side to him. Intercuts show him diving in the nearby river for respite. When a young woman is seen drowning in the river, Crocodile rushes to her aid, only to expect a lot in return. Horrified by her treatment, she nonetheless returns frequently to bond with the old man and the young boy who remains uninfluenced by Crocodile's irritable nature. Soon she becomes a fixture and it all looks to be coming together for the group, if very vaguely. Add to this the most thrilling ending to a Kim Ki-Duk film I have seen so far and the film is complete.
This may not be for those of you who prefer his later works, but keep in mind it does contain everything a Kim Ki-Duk fan could wish for.
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