A Bittersweet Life (2005)

Directed by
Yeah, I needed to watch it again
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-09-01

Everybody wet themselves over this when it came out and I really couldn't see why... it definitely landed better on this rewatch though, now the hype has died down.

Maybe it's the director's cut but the black humour came through better - this time, making it feel even more like a particularly nihilistic Johnnie To film. Sun-woo sees the smallest glimpse of a different life and briefly wonders if maybe a little more kindness wouldn't be such a bad thing... and then he is punished for it.

On first viewing I didn't connect with the characters, didn't understand what motivated them. I think that is intentional though, they have the thinnest of reasons for what they do. Their lives turn this way and that on the whims of others because they are barely living them themselves.

We root for Sun-woo not because he is a hero, but because he at least imagines for a moment that he can be himself.

And because Lee Byung-Hun absolutely rocks that suit.