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Year: 2005
UK: Tartan Films
Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Kim Young-chul, Shin Mina, Whang Jung-min, Kim Roi-ha, Moon Chong-hyuk, Lee Ki-young, Oh Dalsoo, Jin Gu, Kim Hae-gon
Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean (English subtitles)
UK: 120 mins
UK Certificate: 18 contains strong, bloody violence
UK Release Date: 27 January 2006 (Limited Release - London, ICA)
UK Release Date: 20 January 2006


This year's hottest Korean title. Assigned to guard the headstrong young girlfriend of his crime syndicate boss, normally cold-blooded enforcer Seon-woo lets his guard slip for an instant - and pays an horrific penalty. Made by acclaimed writer-director Kim Jee-woon (A TALE OF TWO SISTERS), A BITTERSWEET LIFE raises the bar for onscreen violence and mayhem, its dream-like tone giving way to pure ballistic bedlam, as Seon-woo - bloodied, but by no means beaten - returns to seek revenge against his former master. With its hard-bitten visual style, all rain and shadowy angles, and immaculate production values, this brutal masterpiece will have genre fans nailed to their seats.

Sunwoo (Lee Byung-hun) is no ordinary hotel manager. Decisive and efficient, he's also the right hand man of underworld boss Kang (Kim Young-chul). But tough guy Kang has a weakness; his young girlfriend Heesoo (Shin Mina). Suspecting she's unfaithful, Kang orders Sunwoo to take care of the problem. When Sunwoo discovers Heesoo with another man, he is unable to kill them without a reasonable explanation. Sunwoo has a hunch that in doing so he has made the first mistake of his life. But before he can figure out why he has this feeling he falls victim to a surprise attack.

Kang is furious and has ordered his gang members to hunt down Sunwoo and kill him. Heesoo may have triggered the conflict, but she is no longer what is driving Sunwoo. With nerves of steel, Sunwoo battles the gang alone. With each kill, he takes one step closer to Kang.

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