A Bloody Aria

"OK"

A Bloody Aria Review


An unusual but ultimately impenetrable Korean import, A Bloody Aria has its moments but will ultimately confound American audiences who don't appreciate the complexities of the Korean national psyche. This is a psycho-thriller starring a gang of psycho killers who will leave you scratching your head.

It's going to be a rough day for opera singer and music professor Yeong-Sun (Lee Byuong-jun). He's traveling back to Seoul in his pristine, new, white Mercedes with a former student named In-jeong (Cha Ye-ryun), a lovely young lady who appreciates his attention but soon realizes the much older man has some dirty ideas. After getting pulled over by a cop who rigs the traffic lights so he can make his ticket quota faster, Yeong-Sun peels away from the traffic stop and sets off a chase with the cop that he wins by diverting to a country road.

After getting lost and parking riverside under a bridge, Yeong-Sun basically attempts to rape In-jeong but she squirms away and runs off leaving him alone. Out of nowhere, a slovenly guy who carries a baseball bat and looks mildly retarded approaches the car and tries to see inside the tinted windows. Uh-oh. It's Deliverance time. Cue the Korean banjos.

Before long, the professor is set upon by a crazy gang of locals (Han Seok-gyu, Lee Mun-shik, and Oh Dal-su) who spend the rest of the movie humiliating and torturing him when they're not humiliating and torturing a teenage boy they keep in a large burlap bag. Eventually they round up In-jeong and humiliate and threaten her too. Yeong-Sun tries every method of persuasion to end the nightmare, but he can't get through to these crazies.

By the time the day is over the tables will turn and then turn again, and the traffic cop from the first five minutes will end up playing an important role bringing the whole episode to a baffling conclusion that will leave you wondering what the heck just happened.

The various power trips at play by the river are somehow emblematic of Korean culture itself, battles of authority vs. individuality, and the fact that most of the crazies are army vets plays into Korea's unavoidable fascination with its own militaristic culture. But without doing lots of supplementary reading I can't decode it all, and that's too bad because writer/director Won Shin-yeon has a good eye and an energetic style that deserves a more straightforward screenplay. So points for trying, and if this were Korean Filmcritic.com, he'd probably score higher.

Aka Guta-yubalja-deul.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 31st May 2006

Production compaines: Prime Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 15

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Won Shin-yeon

Producer: Lee Seo-yull

Starring: Cha Ye-ryun as In-jeong, Han Suk-Kyu as Moon-jae, Jung Kyung-ho as Hong-bae, Kim Shi-hoo as Hyun-jae, Lee Byung-joon as Young-sun, Mun-shik Lee as Bong-yeon, Oh Dal-Su as O-guen, Hyeong-tak Shin as Won-ryong

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