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Film Noir

Posted August. 24, 2006 03:01,   


The title is apt: “Killar.”

If you have ever been enraged by people who have lost “the four elements,” you are likely to be interested in this title. At that moment, you would envision someone’s face. But who knows. Someone may be thinking of you. It’s a twisted world anyhow, so let’s just compromise a little. This is the message that the film ‘Killar’ originally intends to portray.

The lead character (Shin Ha-gyun) is an afflicted man with a lisp. With the childhood memory of a girl who used to protect him at the orphanage, he does not speak for fear of humiliation. Having heard that he can have tongue surgery with 100 million won, he becomes a ‘Killar’ in order to earn money for the operation. Not a killer, but a ‘Killar’ such as the ‘F-Killer’ (a popular insecticide pronounced as ‘F Killar’ in Korea). Because he filters out the trash of the society, it’s a rule he has set following the advice of his senior, ‘Ballet’ (Kim Min-joon). After work he goes to the bar for a drink, where he meets up with ‘Her’ (Yoon Ji-hye), a character that covers him with kisses. The silent Killar and Her, who is infatuated with Killar, begins a strange cohabitation. Events unravel one day when Killar and Ballet are told to do away with people trying to earn a windfall from redeveloping the local market, but kills a wrong person by mistake.

The audience will likely be disappointed if they expect the movie to be a film noir just by observing the title. The murders of the Killar almost only show the conclusion. The film is the story of the individuals. This is why it is not easy to convey the movie’s original intentions.

Killar only utters one word. His narration that reflects his inner thoughts tell all. It is interesting to follow the thoughts of one character. The Killar is a cold-blooded professional killer who becomes soft-hearted when seeing a child, a romanticist that dreams of becoming a bullfighter in Spain, and a character infused with a naïveté that writes poems at the level of an elementary school child with innocent gravity. But in the end he is only an outcast that cannot communicate with the outside world. The other characters are the same. They do not have names. They all have their respective pains and are excluded from mainstream society, but all dream of happiness.

The main comic feature of the movie is wordplay, such as ‘Not ballet but beolle (beatle)’ and ‘Pygmalion? Pyrl maligetgun (it’s frustrating)’. Audiences may either laugh outright or turn a cold shoulder to these quips. The director mentions his intention to “portray the tragedy of these sad outcasts with twisted humor.”

Dominated by the humor of the absurd in the beginning, the movie suddenly switches to melodrama, making it difficult for audiences to focus on the story. The movie is an unsuccessful mix of genres ranging from comedy, film noir, to melodrama.

But Shin Ha-gyun demonstrates that it is possible to act without words, and to deliver a number of emotions while wearing shades at the same time. Also memorable is Yun Ji-hye’s expression as she throws an alluring glance with the words “Just for digestion, how about a round of exercise? You know, the thing that adults do.”

18 and over, opens August 24.