The Merciless

BBFC RatingThe Merciless

BOOK NOW
The Merciless
Certificate18
Year2017
GenreKorean
DirectorByun Sung-Hyun
LanguageKorean
CountrySouth Korea
Running Time2HR
Extra InfoSubtitled
SeasonLondon Korean Film Festival

Opening with a conversation about food followed by sudden, murderous violence, and fracturing its chronology into separate timelines, this latest feature from Byun Sung-hyun owes a certain debt to Quentin Tarantino, but is also a moody neo-noir, all existential musings, rain-swept treachery and savagery just out of shot.

Whether inside prison or out, ruthless gangster Jae-ho (Sul Kyung-gu) and his new young protégé Hyun-su (Yim Si-wan) struggle to trust each other in a world of endless double-dealing and betrayal. "The events that unfold in your life usually come from behind," Jae-ho tells Hyun-su, "never from the front." These words certainly capture something of this character's constant guardedness - but they also slyly help convey the homoerotic subtext of a film that ends up being as much tragic love story as twisty thriller.

Screening as part of the London Korean Film Festival On Tour - see the full film programme here.