Korean DVD review: Hindsight
From Busan ports, to Seoul’s high-rise apartments and the Korean countryside, this dramatic thriller follows the leisurely life of retired mafia boss Yoon Doo-heon (Song Kang-ho).
Free from a life of organized crime, Doo-heon enrolls in a cooking class to pass the time. Hoping to open a restaurant, Doo-heon attempts culinary perfection, but fails miserably. Meeting classmate Se-bin (Sin Se-kyeong) offers an attractive exploit. Se-bin is an excellent student, but mysterious to Doo-heon, as she rebuffs his advances.
She is actually on a covert mission to track Doo-heon’s movements. When the “Korean Don” passes away, Doo-heon is summoned back to lead the criminal conglomerate. Some are not satisfied as Doo-heon had supposedly retired and is thought to have lost his edge. A power struggle ensues between rival Busan gangs to determine a successor for the lucrative throne.
Deep in debt to loan sharks and her sister being held hostage, Se-bin has little choice but to accept a contract to kill Doo-heon. Theoretically, it’s an easy kill for her. She’s a crack shot with a rifle and holds the unofficial Asian record for accuracy. Putting a bullet in Doo-heon’s head will result in forgiven debt and a free sister. Unfortunately, she must fight her conscience and growing sympathy for the target.
The first 30 minutes set the scene and backstory. The pace slows after the opening, differentiating this film from other mafia-focused films. It shifts to a psychological drama. The main story is not a life of crime, but an unlikely relationship between two uniquely connected characters.
While the plot is not intriguing, the story holds the audience’s attention throughout. The bizarre connection between the main characters invokes emotion and empathy. Song Kang-ho puts in a stellar performance in his role, but Sin Se-kyeong matches him line-for-line, creating an entertaining and convincing bond.
What seems like an action flick from the cover and prelude surely isn’t. Although uneventful and lacking any true pace or emotion at times, the film can be enjoyable. It certainly contains holes, so don’t expect a masterpiece.