Sumin is an orphan trying to balance work in a factory with study at an art college and an evening job. One night, a rich young businessman makes an advance on him during one of his driving ... Read allSumin is an orphan trying to balance work in a factory with study at an art college and an evening job. One night, a rich young businessman makes an advance on him during one of his driving jobs.Sumin is an orphan trying to balance work in a factory with study at an art college and an evening job. One night, a rich young businessman makes an advance on him during one of his driving jobs.
NO REGRET takes many chances with the story of Korean orphans growing to the age of self- sufficiency without the guidance of parents, fending out a life with the sole support of their fellow orphans. The boys in this story come from the country with little exposure to the city life of Seoul and the tough choices that must be made to survive. The other side of the story reflects the wealthy young men who come from homes burdened with high expectations and preordained 'lives' of inheriting the family business, marrying the right girl, continuing the level of 'sophistication' to which they were born. NO REGRET places a member of each of these disparate groups together and the impact of opposite backgrounds is the thread that weaves so well through this love story.
Lee Su-min (the remarkably gifted newcomer Young-hoon Lee) is the orphan who works at menial jobs until he finds a source of good money as a rent boy in a company called XLarge. Su-min adapts well as he is apparently comfortable with his sexuality: his fellow ex-orphans who work at XLarge present the gamut of types that find prostitution monetarily if not emotionally rewarding. At a chance encounter Su-Min meets Song Jae-min (Nam-gil Kim) and while the attraction is one sided at first, Jae-min is bound by family expectations to marry and take over the family business and has not come to grips with his sexuality. Fear and recognition of class differences keeps Su-min from responding to the near stalking Jae- min, but eventually the attraction blossoms and differences seem to disappear. The two young men have found love, but Jae-min must cope with the expectations of his family - the results being devastating to both men in different ways. How the relationship works through this rocky road is the essence of the film and to discuss the ending would be to destroy the impact of the film.
Every aspect of this film - writing, directing, acting, lighting, music, editing - is first rate. No one who sees this film will be able to escape the impact of the characterization by Young- hoon Lee: his screen presence is magnetic and his range of acting is solid. He definitely is a rising star. As for writer/director Hee-il Leesong, here is a man who not only knows the art of story telling but also the sensitive insight as to the parameters of both economy and exposition when each element of the story calls. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
- May 13, 2009