Udine Far East Film Festival 2023
Lee Ha-nee, Gong Myoung, Lee Sun-kyun
In this age of instant celebrities heralded for the oddest of accomplishments, Yeo-rae (Lee Ha-nee) has hit the jackpot. After setting a Guinness World Record for excessively consuming a popular soft drink, she establishes herself as a model and actress. However, what goes up quickly comes down, and hard. An embarrassing performance in a ridiculous B-movie makes her the laughingstock of the entire country. Exhausted and disillusioned, Yeo-rae travels to a Pacific island where she meets Jonathan Na (Lee Sun-kyun), a wealthy environmentalist, whom she immediately marries. Seven years later, the couple return to Korea and Yeo-rae has another painful reckoning. Her Prince Charming is in reality a narcissistic, controlling, violent jerk who treats her like a luxury doll, keeping her prisoner in his castle. But the tide could be turning, as her neighbour Bum-woo (Gong Myoung), a bumbling student, is in fact her number-one fan, desperate to see her back on the screen. The unlikely duo decide to do away with Jonathan, but the best laid plans of Yeo-rae’s knight in shining armour are dubious at best.
Imaginative, hilarious, and visually sumptuous, KILLING ROMANCE is sure to be a highlight of this year's crop of South Korean films. Director Lee Won-suk, who won an Audience Award at Fantasia 2013 for the unforgettable HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS, delivers his best feature to date with this madcap musical comedy. Lee directs masterfully, conjuring up superb tableaux brimming with creativity that borrow as much from comic strips as from Hollywood classics of the genre. Actress Lee Ha-nee (PHANTOM) shines with every screen appearance, her magnetic Yeo-rae eliciting uncontrollable laughter while remaining tremendously poignant. Meanwhile, Lee Sun-kyun (PARASITE) makes a delightfully detestable antagonist, while Gong Myoung (EXTREME JOB) plays a sympathetic loser who can talk to animals. In the tradition of such eccentric gems as MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY, KILLING ROMANCE is a must-see for filmgoers in search of daring and delightful cinema. – Translation: Rupert Bottenberg
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