A Bittersweet Life (18) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

This Korean noir has the stylish aplomb of Park Chan-wook's Oldboy, and a good measure of its ballistic violence. An underworld enforcer, Sun-woo (Lee Byung-hun) has been commissioned by his boss to spy on a wilful young girlfriend, but although he's required to act with his usual coldblooded authority he holds back, with terrible consequences.

In the lead role, Lee carries himself with admirable suavity, and the night-time locations, glisteningly shot by Kim Ji-yong, rivet home the film's overpowering mood of fatalism.

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