This slow-burning drama sees Wachowski muse Doona Bae play Lee Young-nam, a police officer caught up in the petty intrigues of small-town life. Packed off to a remote posting as punishment for an unspecified misconduct, she meets shy, withdrawn teenager Do-hee (Kim Sae-ron) and tries to shield her from bullying by family and schoolmates. But the girl’s influential father and Lee’s own alcoholism complicate her efforts to help, and young Do-hee’s devotion to her saviour is a little too intense for anyone’s comfort.
Like ‘Diary Of A Teenage Girl’ earlier in the year, this has been slapped with an 18 certificate despite a complete absence of explicit sex or violence because it features a teenage protagonist caught up in adult affairs. Do-hee is by some distance more damaged than Minnie in ‘Diary’ however, and the film presents a more ambiguous teen-adult relationship. The emphasis is on unease rather than shock, and if anything, director July Jung keeps the drama too understated as the pressure builds imperceptibly. Still, the performances are effective: Bae communicates emotion with barely a twitch, and this is a confident debut for Jung, who avoids easy answers. Helen O'Hara