Breathless

Of all the dysfunctional, sociopathic loners in the long history of cinema, it’s hard to remember one quite as vicious, belligerent and unpredictable as Sang-hoon, anti-hero of Korean character actor Yang Ik-June’s crackling directorial debut. As played by the director, Sang-hoon is a dizzying, almost comically outrageous human tornado, every other word a curse, every other movement a fist in somebody’s face. The impressive thing about Yang’s movie is that you care for him.

The plot fits squarely into the ‘single man finds companionship against his will’ template established by US indies like ‘The Station Agent’. What’s remarkable is how Yang approaches  this potentially hackneyed narrative, balancing scenes of punishing, hyper-realistic violence with moments of sympathetic tenderness and dark, savage humour. Blending a thoughtful cycle-of-violence subplot with a piercing study of how even the most hateful and isolated people inevitably affect those around them, ‘Breathless’ is a challenging, dynamic experience.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday January 29 2010
Duration: 130 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Yang Ik-june
Screenwriter: Yang Ik-june
Cast: Yang Ik-june
Kot-bi Kim
Man-shik Jeong

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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