After yesterday's diabolical ravings, I'll be brief. Friend, the
highest-grossing film in the history of Korea, follows the lives of four
friends from their carefree childhood through their troubled adult lives.
From oogling porno on the newly-invented "tv recorder", to beating up
smaller kids, these buddies do it all together. As the years progress,
Sang-Taek and Joong-Ho move away to college, but Joon-Suk and his lackey
Dong-Su stay behind and eventually joing rival gangs. The friends reunite
often, and we witness how these relationships change (and sometimes don't
change) though time.
Not a typical ganster movie, Friend focuses on interpersonal relationships
and characterization rather than the business of gang violence. There are a
few particularly intensely violent scenes, though, including a fantastically
brutal stabbing sequence. A strong suite of performances move the film along
while weaving a captivating tale of friendship and betrayal.
Friend is a tough film to enjoy, but its unique approach to telling a
gangster story wins out in the end. As is par for the course at this year's
festival, the scenes of brutal violence elicited some baffling chuckles from
the audience. In closing, a big "fuck you, douchebag!" to the 900-pound lady
who saw fit to smear her ass all over me as she pushed through the crowd. *shudder*