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(Movie Review) Despite flaws, potential seen in newcomer's romantic comedy

All Headlines 08:31 October 27, 2009

(ATTN: photos available)
By Shin Hae-in

SEOUL, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) -- One of the most frequently made mistakes by first-time filmmakers is to "try too hard," jamming all sorts of genres and fictional elements into one movie.

Director Yang Jong-hyun, 37, confesses he was no different in making his feature debut "Kiss Me, Kill Me." But despite its complicated plot line, his first feature seems to have a unique spark and sense of humor that allows audiences to overlook its flaws and enjoy the film.

Professional killer Hyeon-jun (Shin Hyun-jun) arrives at a house to kill a man in his sleep only to discover a young woman crying under the sheets. As the confused killer hesitates over his next move, the woman shouts, "What's the matter with you! I paid you, so just kill me!"

Jin-yeong (Kang Hye-jung) decided to kill herself after a traumatic breakup with her longtime boyfriend. But after failing in several suicide attempts, she has hired a killer to do the job for her.

Furious at being used for the "wrong reasons" but helplessly attracted to her, Hyeon-jun abandons his mission and asks Jin-yeong out on a date. "Go out with me today and kill yourself tomorrow," he says.

Full of humor and wit, "…Kill Me" observes these peculiar people and others -- gangsters, an alcoholic -- from a sympathetic and affectionate perspective.

In the film, these people are not just social outcasts, but lonely men and women who crave ordinary lives of paying taxes, recycling rubbish, getting married and having children.

While featuring guns, revenge, death and murder, the movie is also optimistic about love, showing how new romance gives Jin-yeong the courage to admit her ex's betrayal, and Hyeon-jun the hope to "retire" from his job and start over.

Throughout the movie, viewers will find themselves laughing, cringing and dabbing at their eyes, perhaps confused but never bored.

"I may have tried a little too hard, so I'm not completely confident people will understand or enjoy the movie," director Yang said after the movie's preview Monday. "But I thought it'd be fun to mix contrasting images to create something humorous and emotional at the same time."

Actor Shin and actress Kang also play the unique characters in a stable manner, showing their years of experience.

While Kang called the movie "cheeky" in an earlier press conference, Shin called it a "strangely moving" film. Kang was absent from the movie's media preview Monday, as she was getting married the same day.

"…Kill Me," with a running time of 107 minutes, will hit local cinemas Nov. 5.


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