Primarily a story of high school and adolescence, it focuses on 2 of the three friends. Yong-ju and Gi-taek are close friends. Soon we get a hint that Yong-ju is probably gay and has some very strong feelings for Gi-woong, who also happens to be the leader of the school gang. What does the gang really do besides buying, we don’t know. But they seem evil and Gi-taek is an object of their bullying on more than one ocassion. We also find outfit these 3 people used to hang out together as kids but something changed over the time and Gi-woong no longer hangs out with him. Meanwhile Yong-ju is sincerely in love with Gi-woong and makes many advances to show his love but there is something that’s stopping Gi-woong from accepting or rejecting his love. When Gi-woong steals Yong-ju’s bike, this official gives him an opportunity to stalk him. But rather than appreciating his efforts, Yong-ju gets beaten up. It doesn’t change his love and he continues his advances because he knows there is something more personal and serious with Gi-woong and believes that he can bring him out of his shell. At the same time when Gi-taek gets a hint that Yong-ju may be gay and that he actually is in love with Gi-woong, betrayal becomes inevitable. Gi-taek tells the gang about Yong-ju being gay and his love for Gi-taek. They both get punished in a brutal sexual assault and a physical assault who then attempt to take revenge.
As I mentioned, my problem with the narrative is its uneven structure. It is a hard film to watch, a gruelling experience but you are trying to fit some pieces together and they get unfold quite late in the game. The slow-up gets tiresome and I almost lost interest in the film but I am glad I sat through. While the teenage period is more violent, brutal and real, their childhood times are more friendly and sugary. A lot of questions still remain a mystery to me. Why did Yong-ju keep pushing Gi-woong to get him to accept that he is gay. There was never an incident before that can say that Gi-woong could possibly be gay. Finally when Gi-woong reciprocates his feelings for Yong-ju, is that because he is lonely or because Yong-ju is the only one who has ever cared for him. Why was Gi-woong bullied as a kid that changed his entire personality as an adult teenage. We never get to see details about his father’s arrest and why was he hiding. Anyway, the acting and the direction are pretty alright. A world of casual violence in school, longing and loneliness, friendship and relationships and taboo of being gay are also woven pretty well. I think the problem is that the makers wanted a little bit of everything added which sometimes took the focus away. Or maybe my expectations were high, after all, the director gave us the immensely marvellous "No Regrets".
The film questions traditional thinking in Korean culture and discusses taboo subjects. It must be seen but be patient. (6.5/10)