an exhilarating rollercoaster ride on the highs and lows of love.
From first time writer / director Leesong Hee-il comes this exhilarating rollercoaster ride on the highs and lows of love.
Not that Su-min knows the emotional crisis that's in store for him yet. But then, this orphaned country boy still dreams of finding gold on the streets of Seoul, only to come face to face with the harsh reality of redundancy when cut backs at the factory where he earns a modest living beckon. Tired of washing dishes and knowing that his chauffeuring skills won't bring in the won's he yearns after, he's soon to be found letting strangers touch him up - for a price. Only in hustling his way through life, brothel style, one particular client is more than familiar, that being Jae-min; the wealthy son of his former employer and a man who having already propositioned him, comes to discover that his all consuming love for Su-min is set to wreak havoc with their lives.
Overflowing with a plethora of emotions, this bittersweet tale of love laid bare stands proud as one of the finest gay themed films to come out of South Korea in years. Brilliantly executed from start to finish, here we find Leesong weaving his cinematic web character reversal style, by first having Su-min refuse Jae-min's obsessive advances, repulsed by his wealth, class and stalker like qualities, only to give in to the overwhelming desire of his heart, at a time when Jae-min's mother is all too keen to remind him of his rightful duties to the family line and business. Yet in having played, if not overplayed the "poor boy / rich kid" card, Leesong ups the stakes by unexpectedly taking you on a far deeper and altogether more disturbing journey.
The result is a film of contrasts; from acts of outright violence to overt tenderness, to scenes of a sexually intimate nature that many a Western actor would have shied away from. Beautifully shot and directed, with strong performances throughout, in particular from Lee Young-hoon who gives a remarkably confident debut as Su-min, this is what gay cinema is all about. A work full of passion and pathos. Sure it gets increasingly melodramatic the further it comes to its shocking conclusion. But that said, there is no doubting the overpowering love that the two protagonists hold for each other, even if the playful nature of the principal publicity still, is a far cry from the misunderstandings that give way to their often tempestuous relationship. Simply wonderful.