Random

Film: A Bittersweet Life

"You can do a hundred things right, but it takes only one mistake to destroy everything."

A Bittersweet Life is a 2005 South-Korean Revenge movie directed and written by Kim Ji-Woon (I Saw the Devil, The Good, the Bad, the Weird) starring Lee Byung-Hun as Sun-woo, a high-ranking enforcer for a powerful korean mobster that goes through hell after disobeying one of his boss' orders. Being Mr. Kang's most loyal employee, Sun-woo is assigned with the task of watching over the former's young mistress, whom is suspected of being involved with another man. But Sun-Woo finds himself incapable of following the order of killing the two lovers after the suspicions are proven right, starting a war with his former crime family.

This movie provides examples of the following:

  • Anti-Hero: Sun-woo is a skilled and ruthless enforcer working for a big criminal organisation, but lets Hee-soo and her lover walk out (mostly) unharmed, as long as they agree to stop seeing each other, instead of murdering the two of them. Whether this choice is caused by pity, ethical reasons or by his growing feelings for Hee-soo is up to debate.
  • Badass: Sun-woo, a mobster trained in martial arts who won't die easy.
  • Call Back: Near the end, Sun-woo references Mr. Kang's words to him after being asked why he didn't kill Hee-soo and the man she was meeting with earlier in the film.
    "No, not that kind of thing. Tell me the real reason."
  • The Ending Changes Everything: If you're a supporter of the All Just a Dream interpretation.
  • Fallen Hero: Sun-woo descends from a respected and feared mobster to a renegade criminal being chased by the very family that led him to the top.
  • Made of Iron: The protagonist takes multiple stabs to the stomach and is hit by several bullets but still stands after all the mooks in the restaurant are dead.
  • Not So Stoic: There's only three moments in the entire movie at which Sun-woo is shown smiling. His lifestyle and monotonous daily habits also suggest he doesn't have much of a off duty life. As in Hee-soo's words, "You're so boring to talk to.". However, he proves to be able to demonstrate feelings ranging from endearment when seeing Hee-soo play the cello to hurt in his last conversation with Mr. Kang before killing him.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: See Made of Iron above.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Rather than engaging in a bloody one on one fight only the best would win, Sun-woo prefers to kill the three major antagonists by gunshots. Especially noticeable in Mr. Kang's and Mun-suk's cases, one killed by a sudden point blank shot to the chest and the other shot down with no time to react, respectively.