Sook-hee is a trained assassin who was born to kill. She was just a little girl when the training started in Yanbian, China. After the death of her mentor, when the chance of starting a new life was given to her, she came to South Korea as a government agent. They promised her that she will be free after ten years of service. So she begins her new life as a theatre actress. But soon two men Joong-sang and Hyun-soo appear in her new life. And she started to find deep dark secrets about her past. Eventually she take matters into her own hands.Written by
Niaz Islam Arif
The concept was intriguing and heard nothing but great things when it came out in my country a few weeks ago. It took a bit of time for me to see 'The Villainess' (being someone who wants to see as many films of the year as possible being a film buff regardless of age and genre), due to commitments and being behind on my film watching and it was well worth the wait.
In a very mixed bag year for films (which had the likes of 'The Farthest', 'God's Own Country', 'IT', 'Wind River', 'The LEGO Batman Movie', 'Spiderman: Homecoming', 'Una', 'A Ghost Story', 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2' and 'Dunkirk' for examples in the good and more categories, and then 'The Emoji Movie', 'Fifty Shades Darker', 'All Eyez on Me', 'Stratton', 'The Mummy', 'Flatliners', 'Transformers: The Last Knight', 'Eat the Locals' and 'The Circle' in the disappointing or less categories'), 'The Villainess' generally is one of the better films to be released in recent weeks and in the better half of the films released in 2017. 'The Villainess' to me was a very good film with many truly great elements.
By all means, 'The Villainess' is not perfect. There are a few too many twists, flashbacks and reveals in the latter parts of the film, a couple being a bit too obvious, and the somewhat piled on nature makes the middle act feel at times cramped and convoluted. Some of the characters could have had more depth too. On the whole though, 'The Villainess' has a lot of style and atmosphere but also has substance and soul.
Visually, 'The Villainess' is hugely impressive. The editing is especially exceptional and the cinematography is very clever and audacious, even acrobatic, both shining in particularly the motorbikes action sequence. The music score is haunting and heart-pounding without intruding. 'The Villainess' is directed with a keen eye for visual detail and with a knack for providing plenty of thrills and tension while keeping control of the story.
Furthermore, 'The Villainess' is written tautly and, even though it's not executed perfectly, the story has tension and suspense galore, always absorbs and intrigues and with a romantic subplot has room even for emotional resonance. The highlight is one of the most uncompromisingly violent, thrilling and powerfully startling opening sequences of any film from 2017 and perhaps in film generally. The ending similarly packs a punch.
Action sequences are similarly imaginative and exceptionally well choreographed to adrenaline rush effect, the motorbikes/sword-fight sequence is one of the most electrifying action sequences of the year. The lead character is fascinating and more complex than one would think, her back story integrated skilfully and making her more a character to root for rather than hate. The acting is very strong, with Kim OK-vin a revelation.
Overall, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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