A Bittersweet Life (2005) - Action, Drama

Hohum Score



Things go wrong for a high ranking mobster when he doesn't proceed by his boss's orders.

IMDB: 7.6
Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Byung-Hun Lee, Min-a Shin
Length: 120 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 11 out of 82 found boring (13.41%)

One-line Reviews (76)

The most powerful scene in this movie I thought was really breathtaking was the final scene where after having been shot numerous times and barely breathing, the main character calls the girl he has recently fallen for.

Korean action that plays like a pumped-up HK crime film but at the cost of banal emotion .

What seems intriguing as a story line at first sight turns out to be quite redundant.

However, when Sun Woo spies Hee Soo with her boyfriend, he makes a stunning decision, one that will have major consequences for all involved!

If you enjoy revenge thrillers then you should love this; the action is intense and fairly brutal.

I really enjoyed that switch from slow and predictable, to fast and heavy; it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat!

As though anxious to prevent that same boredom in his audience, he fills his movies with passing thrills.

however the introduction of an extra character near the end scene was a bit confusing as we are not told who he is how he is related to the story ( well not in great detail ) i will be looking for other films from Korea and what i now call new cinema rather than world cinema, mainly because of the quality i spoke of earlier in directing, acting, cinematography, story and choreography.

Something really gripping, surprising or twisted as in a Takashi Miike movie is definitely missing here.

First off, the decor is simply stunning, the camera-work is meticulous, especially as it keeps up with some wonderful fight scenes.

If you'll omit such speculations or enhance the plot by filling in the subtleties of Sun-woo's motives then I'm sure you'll find this film very uncompromising and intense from the first reel up until the final hodgepodge of a bloodbath.

Two or three powerhouse action sequences - a standout being Sun-woo's escape - redeem matters considerably, but one yearns for more imagination amongst incidentals, echoing the central theme which relates the implied vacuum in a hard man's heart to his empty lifestyle.

Gripping, clever, dramatic and sometimes funny (in a dark way) this film has clever action scenes, grit and more emotion than you could shake a stick at.

In my opinion it is far superior to Chan-Wook Park's trilogy (Sympathy and Lady I found frankly bland and Oldboy was ruined by the incredibly slow and strung out ending).

It balances a brilliantly done thrilling and action packed film with really clever noir inspired techniques and a decent plot and decent characters, which few films succeed in doing.

I fully enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good revenge film or fans of the 'Asia Extreme'DVDs.

Korea is quite simply producing more interesting movies these days than the rest of Asia combined and is making so much Hollywood or European cinema seem staid and uninteresting.

Most films would promptly have minder and moll strike sparks off each other before falling into a predictable game of dangerous sexual intrigue.

all together this is good action packed movie with good background score and good performance.

Clocking in at two hours this is one fast paced ride full of imagery.

Not one of the "great" K-revenge movies, but entertaining nonetheless .

The ending, in particular, is quite stunning.

It's well shot, well cast but no story to speak of that would keep your attention.

The film opens with a shot of trees blowing in the wind and a quote of the most banal philosophy (-"is it the branches moving or the wind?

The story lines are formulaic and derivative, consisting largely of how to engineer more ingenious punch-ups, torture or revenge posturing.

It's a very entertaining movie if you're into this kind of stuff, and the direction and cinematography are splendid.

The set-up and story are so simple and honest that you can literally start-watching the film at any point and still become immersed in the action.

Instead, emotionally driven dialogues are put in between fighting sequences and slow the flow.

Fifth, the vengeance chapter only takes a few minutes and doesn't impress with much action, gripping tension or some brutality.

This film is well worth watching, although I am not convinced it will quite make it into my DVD collection.

In one scene, she even says to his face "Your so boring".

Everyone else is simply brilliant and worth watching.

When I got bored I just watched the lead actress - about the only woman in the whole film.

With a plot that is neither as fresh or as clever as that other recent great Korean revenge drama, Oldboy, Kim Jee Woon's movie owes a lot of its success to lead actor Byung-hun Lee who puts in a confident performance that is the epitome of cool: dressed in a snappy suit, this hard-as-nails gangster is an unflappable fellow, even faced with what seems like certain death.

The direction of it all makes the movie entertaining and engrossing, just from the first scene all the way too the end.

But entertaining it is, on an undemanding level.

Even with them, it's still worth watching if you're into this fascinating subgenre of foreign film.

In Hollywood, they probably would've made a boring Steven Seagal movie, that follows the same pattern seen a million times already.

Life is unpredictable and as the quote says, only you have the power to change your future.

This movie is totally predictable.

Brief review: plain stupid, waste of excellent film a lot of students would have used a lot better, and a shameful waste of my time, based on the current, outrageously over-estimated IMDb rating (7.3)

An empty tankard of vengeance .

Regardless, a good entertaining movie, which is worth watching alone for the setting, direction and main actor.

Director Jee-woon Kim really knows how to capture the interest of the audience, the storytelling here is top notch and suspenseful all the way through.

Kim Ji Y also does an excellent job bringing Kim Ji's vision to life and many of the shots in the film border on breathtaking.

I was impressed by the stunning performance of the leading actor, as well as of the other actors.

The only female in the plot, Heesoo invites Sun-woo out for lunch, and whilst she proclaims that Sun-woo is "boring", this scene is the first time that we see him in a social setting where the talk is not of business.

Director Kim Jee-Woon has given us a gripping tale of revenge that treads a well worn path, yet does it with enough panache and style for us to forgive the occasional cliché.

Tedious and over-rated .

All of the gangster action you could wish for is here, in spades, and it's very bloody too; however, there's plenty of visual artistry too, and some scenes of breathtaking and touching beauty which transcend the film's genre to reach out and touch the viewer's very heart.

At times there are also moments of comedy to lighten the mood but it's the set pieces like the amazing end sequence that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

The pacing during the first half is a touch too limp, but once it gets going this is hugely involving, entertaining, and satisfying watch.

The plot is blazingly original & powerfully narrated, the action is downright violent & viciously engaging, the performances are very strong & characters are completely fleshed out, and it deals with the ethics of Korean mafia in a stunning & highly realistic manner.

It's occasionally disturbing, sometimes blackly funny, and gripping throughout.

Many scenes depicting violence and fights are well placed in the film to describe subtle emotional changes of the hero (Byung-hun LEE) and the unexpected situation that he encounters.

He took the formulaic "mob, love, suffering, revenge and ultra-violence" route, and borrowed countless elements from Park's "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance", "Old boy" and "Sympathy for lady vengeance".

The acting talents are as outstanding as the story line is intense.

Light humour afforded in the contrast between suave topdogs and bumbling henchmen has been done so many times, and many of the entertaining debacles could have been borrowed from Kill Bill.

Slow moving pictures with melancholic music added to it.

EDIT: 2 Years I re-call being told, on youtube as I berated the film with these same comments, that the entire film was he's imagination, apparently he's life as a top rate, cool Gangster was so boring, he imagines the whole thing.

The best part of the film though is the entire final hour, which plays out as a non-stop adrenaline ride.

The subtleties of his A Tale of Two Sisters created a disturbing cocktail of suspenseful horror, one in which the audience was often left guessing as to the exact relationship between major characters.

Each time, you expect something gripping to happen, it just doesn't.

As Mr.Kang's character may symbolize tradition and convention, Sun-Woo strikes him down as a unpredictable force of chaos and revolution.

In place of nothing to exorcize, he seems to pick every time a different genre to stave off boredom.

This film dragged on in a preposterous and unimaginative way with no real development of character, no poise or thorough art direction and certainly no depth.

Very stylish and very bloody, A Bittersweet Life may not be the 'classic' that some have hailed it to be, but it is a very good addition to the Asian gangster genre that is well worth watching.

Until this point the pace of the film has been quite slow, and steady.

Third, the middle part of the story is way too long without explaining the important details.

Maybe it was just because she found him boring and ethereally played cello?

Is what the boss does to him (upon discovering the betrayal) really all that unexpected?

Enjoyable and Fast-Paced .

Extreme, but extremely linear and generally predictable .

Within the first ten minutes i knew this film was going to keep me on the edge of my seat.

Another breathtaking revenge movie from South-Korea .

As soon as Sun-woo climbs out of the grave that he metaphorically dug (after he took the moral high ground, he knew that there would be repercussions for lying to the boss), and the actual muddy, physical grave that the gang buried him in, the film changes to a fast paced, and bloody revenge plot.