Chungmuro/Film News
Dark indie film Bleak Night earns raves
by | March 12, 2011 | 38 Comments

Bleak Night is a movie that was quietly released a week ago, which caught my attention for its thoughtful, haunting indie vibe.

Centered around a death at a high school, the film released a week ago on March 3, and has been building strong word of mouth among audiences for being “hair-raisingly, frighteningly realistic” and sensitive. Now in its second weekend, it is approaching the 10,000 admittance mark, and while that’s a pretty small number for a mainstream studio picture, it’s a strong showing for a small indie film, bolstered by fans who are returning for repeat showings.

It has even drawn glowing words from notable industry giants like Bong Joon-ho (director of The Host, Mother), who declared, “It’s an astonishingly well-made film.” Yang Ik-joon, director of the award-winning Breathless, said, “I’ve been waiting for this! For such an outstanding movie and director to appear…”

The trailer was enough to capture my interest, but now it definitely has my attention, that’s for sure.

The movie centers around three high school friends, one of whom dies when he falls from an apartment building. His father seeks to understand his son’s death, and searches out his friends, who have scattered in the aftermath.

What he finds is that all was not entirely well between the three friends; a misunderstanding stood between two of them and escalated into group violence, while the third had attempted to play peacemaker. Instead, he’d ended up hurting one of them, the one who dies. And so, the father comes upon a curious set of circumstances that he tries to make sense of: One friend is dead, one has left, and another has hidden. Nobody’s blameless, and it’s difficult to say who was the victim and who was the wrongdoer.

Like its title suggests, the truth lies in murky waters, and what is left at the end is the knowledge that the three friends weren’t able to look out for each other — “lookout” being the film’s Korean title.

In addition to the haunting plot, we have three up-and-coming actors who have attracted some notice for their performances. Playing Ki-tae, the dead boy, is Lee Je-hoon, who was notably in the queer coming-of-age film Just Friends?, and also the romantic comedy movie starring Gong Yoo and Im Soo-jung, Finding Kim Jong-wook. Playing his friend is Seo Joon-young, who was recently in the sageuk drama Gumiho: Tale of the Fox’s Child. The trio is rounded out by Park Jung-min, a relative rookie who starred in a 2008 short, Lovers. Playing the questioning father is Flames of Desire’s Jo Sung-ha.

Helming the project is Yoon Sung-hyun, a young director (he’s 29) who’s earned a number of awards and praise for his work. Bleak Night won the New Currents award at the Pusan International Film Festival in 2010, while his 2008 film Boys picked up a special jury prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival, as well as an audience award at the International College Peace Film Festival.

Via 10 Asia, Chosun


38 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Santa's little helper

    OMG i want to watch this movie now :O
    IT looks AWESOME!

  2. ilikehim

    Is the last picture a boy or a girl?

    Also, I am intrigued.

    • 2.1 :D

      that’s a good question…

    • 2.2 River

      I find in Korean culture, everyone who’s in their twenties are holy-crap-can-I-touch-you-gorgous, but completely genderless. Idols? I’m left with drool on my chin, but not completely sure if I was watching a girl or guy. The actors? Sunkwangan (?) Scandal. T.T
      I’m dramatizing, of course. I’m sure there’s… Some Way to find out.

    • 2.3 anais

      The last one, I’m fairly certain, is a girl. I’d be pretty shocked if it were a boy.

    • 2.4 gingganggolli

      hahaha…so funny…that’s get me wondering, but i’m sure its a girl…

    • 2.5 I think...

      She’s a a girl. Well at least she looks like one.

    • 2.6 humdrum

      It’s a girl. Se-jung, the girlfriend of Dong yoon ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. hpn88

    I always put these movies on my list, but I can NEVER find subtitles ๐Ÿ™

    • 3.1 mrskimchee

      go to myasiancinema, they usually have sub

    • 3.2 Alexandra

      re-set your captions to be on in your Roku settings. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. jyiskool

    the trailer gave me chills.

  5. veritaserum

    looks promising. I just need to find TIME to watch all these. *sigh*

  6. kc

    mystic river, anyone? the premise reminds me of ths movie, the one with sean penn, whos acting on said film was to die for.

    i hope i find one wt subs soon

  7. Ivy

    the trailer looks awesome. feel like watching it, but chances of catching it seems quite slim since it’s an indie

    • 7.1 Ivy

      though the plot isn’t exactly similar, it reminds me of a japanese drama i liked called Watashitachi no Kyoukashou, which actually centres on a step mom and a teacher trying to uncover the truth to the girl’s death at the school.

      • 7.1.1 starry

        never watch the drama but this movie’s plot reminds me of the jap movie “confession” starring matsu takako.

        • anna hae

          and the confession is also getting rave reviews all around.
          so I guess these kind of plot/themes does gives off intriguing aura to audiences, given that the director knows what to do.

          and I’M SO GOING TO WATCH THIS.

  8. barbie

    thank you. it looks like my kind of film and i hope i could check it out soon, as well.

  9. Kender

    Wow, this sounds awesome, and I love the look of those stills. I can’t wait until it leaks onto the internet. :3

  10. 10 y

    I heard from someone saying that friendship is transparent, I think it requires a lot of trust and love from both side equally.

  11. 11 Carmie

    I wish I knew where to go see this in Seoul. >.< This looks really good.

  12. 12 cheekbones

    Thanks, jb, for bringing this up to our attention. I’ll be on the lookout. My kind of movies. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. 13 DEE

    Ahh I was wondering why one of them looked so familiar. It’s because he played in Lovers ^^ I want to watch this movie but I am too lazy. This is one of those thinking movies where you actually have to reflect on the movie after it’s finished. Then, you have to watch it again because you were too overwhelmed by the message/tone to admire the cinematography. Too much work hehehe ๐Ÿ™‚ but I’ll put it on my list of movies to be watched.

  14. 14 ZOee

    wow!! That movie looks really good!!…i would love for foreign movies to play more in US theaters, i hate seen all this big budget movies whom are only trying to get money of 3D and unoriginal topics…uhhh i really hate theaters this days:S

  15. 15 kay

    awww i loved seo joon young ever since the devil and kimcheed radish cube. hope he gets more projects

  16. 16 mommy

    i’m already hooked up by the trailer!! this movie just looks awesome!!

    just want to add sth: MY PRAYERS GO TO ALL THE JAPANESE!!!! STAY STRONG JAPAN!!!

  17. 17 fern

    Ok…… I’m sold. I wanna watch this movie!!!! But i doubt they’ll release it in Malaysia : ( Is there anywhere else we can watch it?

  18. 18 Sojuboy

    This thing reminds me of a famous Japanese novel. It seems to be borrowing from that.

  19. 19 Dara

    Aww, really want to know what’s going on between them. Nice.

  20. 20 MzKyu

    ooooh seems good, want to watch it

  21. 21 Alvina

    For some reason, the “feel” reminds me of this Thai horror film I saw a couple of years ago…

    I will anticipate watching this, for sure.

  22. 22 hitsugaya

    i want to watch this!

  23. 23 pugz

    This does look pretty good. Hope Netflix will have it available (though it might take a while). They have a pretty good selection of foreign films on instant play.

  24. 24 tina

    i’ve been wanting to watch this movie since i heard about it at the international film festival rotterdam , but never got a chance to watch it. it got nominated for a tiger award too if i remember correctly. i hope it comes out in the usa later!

    honestly i mainly want to watch it for lee je-hoon. *is so shallow*

  25. 25 Myxale

    Looks and sounds promising.

    In time of too many mainstreams, and well made Indy is most welcome!!

  26. 26 Chloe

    I watched this movie. It attracted me from the 1st sec to final sec. However, I wonder a little bit. Ki-Tae is wrong when he treats so bad with Hee-Jun. But I feel sympathy to Ki-Tae. I think he has a problem that he can’t say. Actually, a misunderstanding between them so anyone plz explain it for me. I am not clear about this film

  27. 27 futurestar

    as a big Korean film fan I try to suss out the better from from the so โ€“ so and watch that. not being a big teen angst film fan I did hop on this based on so the many excellent reviews. having the protagonist comprised over the dynamics of three life long school friends as they get closer to that graduation date, being in the throes of puberty, learning first hand hand how to deal with the challenge of emotional upheaval and the awkwardness that may ensue, the dynamics between our three principals continually shift as clarity and confusion trade leads in our unfolding story of current tragedy unveiling and flashback insight into the circumstances that might reveal or not, how Y landed on X and Z split the scene because he couldnโ€™t take it anymore. the dynamics unravel as the father of โ€œhot shitโ€ tries to come to terms with loss in multiple inquiries into we get a special unfolding by youthful director in a mesmerizing tale told unusually. good stuff if you can hang. does require you pay attention as normal rewards are not welcome int his script or ever on his set. encouraging start of a possible great careers for a handful of terrific hopefuls.

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