Time Out says
We’ve all found ourselves in the gutter at some point, but few have been dragged through it quite so aggressively as Madonna, the mystery girl at the heart of Shin Su-won’s new film of the same name. When we meet Mi-na (her real name), she’s a young, pregnant and brain dead woman who has literally been found beaten to a pulp by a spillway. Also meeting her for the first time is Hye-rim, Seo Young-hee’s troubled nurse assistant who has been charged with a withered corporate head who is being kept alive by his greedy son. Mi-na has the heart the comatose CEO needs and the son tasks Hye-rim with securing the necessary signatures to proceed, and thus we delve into Madonna’s past. Fresh from an invitation to the Cannes Film Festival, this new Korean indie drama is steeped in a potent darkness, at first lingering in the hallways of the hospital before seeping its way into every frame. It’s a million miles away from the iridescent summer fare currently storming multiplexes, but its somber tale of systemic abuse and subtle redemption has more grit and pull than the yesteryear throwbacks Hollywood is currently sending our way. This is dark stuff, no doubt about it and director Shin refuses to give us an easy way out. There are no heroes or happy endings in Madonna, only victims and villains, but she has given us something more, something sharply compelling and morbidly satisfying, as well as plenty to think about.