ABloody Aria opens with a shot of a hawk circling the clear blue sky as if searching for prey, set to the angelic score of the film’s titular melody. So too does the film teasingly toy with the audience via its surrogate characters, baiting them with immoral opportunities and chances of fate only to see how well they hold up (physically, emotionally, morally) through it all. A trip through the countryside to an undesignated location first turns awry when musical professor Park Young-sun (Lee Byeong-jun) loses control of his libido and forces himself on his student In-jeong (Cha Ye-ryeon); after Jeong flees the scene, Park finds himself confronted with a gang of barbarous thugs with an apparently dead body in tow. The film’s slowly accruing tension initially seems to be foreshadowing some Funny Games, but the outcome is more comparable to a drawn-out, subdued case of Deliverance, with roughneck codes of honor clashing with urban pacifism in a series of horrific and unpredictable conflicts the film treats with equal levels of revulsion and bemusement. As far as depicting man’s inhumanity to man, director Won Shin-yeon mostly gets it right, fleshing out character details with implicit efficiency while also acknowledging the utter ridiculousness of it all without falling into outright misanthropy. These wacky characters mostly get what’s coming to them but what remains lacking is any sense of purpose; aside from a touching examination of violence as a means of expressing both love and hate, Bloody Aria remains little more than an adept exercise in tongue-in-cheek brutality, its fatalistic overtones too random and undefined to hold any existential value. As such, the film isn’t illuminating, just inflammatory.
- ImaginAsian Entertainment
- 115 min
- Won Shin-yeon
- Won Shin-yeon
- Cha Ye-ryeon, Han Suk-kyu, Jeong Kyeong-ho, Kim Shi-hoo, Lee Byeong-jun, Lee Mun-shik, Oh Dal-su, Shim Hyeong-tak
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