6.8/10
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Bad Guy (2001)

Nabbeun namja (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 11 February 2005 (USA)
One man's attempt to fill humane loneliness. But love is not for "scumbags".

Director:

Ki-duk Kim

Writer:

Ki-duk Kim

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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jae-Hyun Cho ... Han-ki (as Jae-hyeon Jo)
Won Seo Won Seo ... Sun-hwa
Yun-tae Kim Yun-tae Kim ... Yun-tae
Duk-moon Choi Duk-moon Choi ... Myeong-su (as Duek-mun Choi)
Yoon-young Choi Yoon-young Choi ... Hyun-ja
Yoo-jin Shin Yoo-jin Shin ... Min-jung
Jeong-yeong Kim Jeong-yeong Kim ... Eun-hye (as Jung-young Kim)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Min Namkoong ... Hyun-su (as Gung-Min Nam)
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Storyline

In busy downtown Seoul, a thuggish young man notices a fresh-faced college student who sits on a bench. He stares then sits next to her. She looks at him as if he's vermin, rises and walks to another bench. He sits staring. Her boyfriend arrives, she points to the stranger, the boyfriend shrugs and puts his arm around her to walk away. The stranger starts to leave as well, turns, goes to them, takes her face firmly in his hands and kisses her long and hard. The boyfriend tries unsuccessfully to break them apart, then soldiers beat the stranger. She demands an apology. He is silent. She slaps him and spits on him. They leave. The next day, he sets out to ruin her. How can this end? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Trapped in a world of pleasure and pain ...

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean

Release Date:

11 February 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bad Guy See more »

Filming Locations:

Seoul, South Korea See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

LJ Film,Prime Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

The last shot shows a truck with an orange cover going down a road in the distance. When the end credits begin, the truck becomes a small orange square that remains on the screen for the entire duration of the end credits. See more »

Soundtracks

I tuoi fiori
Written and Performed by Etta Scollo
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User Reviews

 
If Quasimodo and Esmeralda Were in Seoul's Red Light District Now
25 February 2005 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"Bad Guy (Nabbeun namja)" is an earlier film of Ki-duk Kim that is probably being released now in the U.S. due to the success of "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom)," but fans of that visually entrancing parable should be warned how very different this exploration of the depths of human nature is.

The style has some similarity in that there is no exposition and we have to connect images that tell a tale of two very different people over time. Context is everything as voyeurism keeps repeating along a sexual spectrum of men and women together -- to romantic or erotic or degrading or lustful or violent, full of obsession or love or hate or longing or disgust, whether in prostitution, a relationship, or rape.

A key context is emotions and degrees, whether by the man or woman, or mutual, or drained of feeling such that I'm not sure love has any meaning in this film. There's a recurring use of Egon Schiele's erotic art to make some kind of comparative point about a continuum of sexual images and their effect on the viewer.

The titular character is reminiscent of Quasimodo of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" fixating on Esmeralda if he were a psychopathic pimp in, I presume, Seoul's lurid red light district and played by the charismatic Jae-hyeon Jo, like an apolitical "Romper Stomper." I did get a little lost where he fit into the hierarchy of the yakuza-like gangster organization that controls the district, how much authority he has, and who was on top of whom to interpret their obsessions. Some of the encounters we see are presumably his limited fantasies as he miraculously recovers from various violently noble efforts to protect and reach out to the object of his affection that reminded me of the ambiguous ending of Jane Campion's "The Piano."

The film explores some of the same territory as the work of Catherine Breillat, but the context seems uneasily different when I'm the only woman in the theater and the director is male, perhaps because the central woman is always an object, even as she pitifully adapts to her various degradations, and even resists being freed from them. All the women in the film treat each other like the men treat them.


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