A Bittersweet Life

A Bittersweet Life – Dalkomhan insaeng – 2005


A Bittersweet Life is the movie that inspired me to open this blog. I tried to briefly explain it all in my first entry, and then for some reason, i just never got back to it. You know, they say things always happen for a reason, and so after stalling for so long waiting for the right moment  to share this with you, something (or should i say somebody?) happened and made me change my mind. And so here it goes:

A Bittersweet Life is a 2005 movie by Kim Ji-Woon. It tells the extremely intense story of Kim Sun-woo, an enforcer and hotel manager. His mobster boss, Mr.Kang, has to go out of town for some time and asks him to look after his little girlfriend Hee-soo, jealous and afraid she might be seeing younger men while he’s away. Hee-soo does in fact have a boyfriend, but when Sun-woo finds out, he surprisingly shows mercy on her. This results into an act of betrayal towards his boss, and that’s where everything starts going extremely wrong.. Mr Kang is determined to kill him. Sun-woo is determined to fight for his life. and so a big masterpieced path of revenge is set.

This movie is undeniably inspired by Oldboy. It’s about vengeance, about somebody who has to go thru a lot of violence to save his life, about tragedy and betrayal. The protagonist is Lee Byung-hun, that we have seen before in Cut and Joint Security Area (also from Park Chan-wook).

It is also about preciousness in a world that is cruel, and wrong, and those little special happy moments that make it worth it.  Sun-woo is alienated from society, and falls in love with the thought of a woman who he’s only met for one day. He never sees her again, but in order to preserve her beauty he is determined to fight everything he has ever known, and sacrifice himself. There’s so much violence and blood combined with a sense of distant poetic tragedy, and Kim Ji-woon does an immaculate job at showing it. All topics that deeply influence and touch me.


If i had to pick only one word to describe this movie, it would definitely be: INTENSE. Absolutely a must see. Especially if you have somebody in mind..


11 Responses to “A Bittersweet Life”

  1. hagiblog Says:

    Sounds like another one to put on my list. I really enjoy the vengence type films and they usually contain not only some great action scenes but a great story as well.

  2. that’s why i love them so much. plus, i don’t know, i might just have a thing for vengeance.

  3. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  4. […] Weird, is a 2008 movie directed by beloved Kim Ji-Woon (The Quiet Family, A Tale Of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life). The movie was inspired by Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, […]

  5. The movie was great. I just bought it because the description seemed awesome and it didn’t let me down in the end.

  6. one of my favorite korean movies of all times. simply perfect.

  7. Paragraph Film Reviews Says:

    Brilliant film, this made our “best of the decade list”!!!

  8. awesome! :) i adore this movie!

  9. Paragraph Film Reviews Says:

    Just watched it again and reviewed it, absolutely amazing.

  10. I just wrote a review on this movie on my blog. Thats how I got to read this entry. I did not use the word “intense” to describe the movie on my entry, but that is exactly how I felt when watching it. INTENSE.

  11. glad to hear that!

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