Analysis in Film
March 8, 2013
A Bittersweet Life
A Bittersweet Life is an intense, action-packed thriller, where we get to see the extraordinary acting abilities of the South Korean actor Byung-hun Lee. Lee plays the lead role as a young man named Kim Sun-woo who works at a hotel as an undercover, high-ranking mobster given a special task by his boss, Kang (Kim Yeong-cheol). That special task is very personal to Sun-woo's boss, Kang, Sun-woo is asked to keep an eye on his boss's younger mistress, Heesoo (Shin Min-ah), while he is away on a business trip to Hong Kong, for he fears she may be having an affair. Sun-woo finds himself in quite a bit of trouble due to not following his boss's exact orders and barely escapes with his life, only to go on a complete rampage to get his full revenge.
On the surface, A Bittersweet Life's storyline is very straightforward, containing no twists or turns that you would not have already seen coming from an action-thriller film. Even so, what really gets you and draws you in is the emotionally withdrawn and seemingly complex center character, Sun-woo. Throughout the film, it shows you small glimpses into Sun-woo's emotional state and frame of mind. The minute details we get about Sun-woo's character are just enough for the viewers to understand him slightly. However, Sun-woo's emotionally compelling aurora allows the viewer to not fully understand him until the very end. Due to the complexity of the main character, the film leaves you with a lot of details to digest. Overall, the movie is a lot more intriguing than the simple characters of another tasteless, dull revenge drama.
Although the action was phenomenal and the base of the story had good intentions, there were some holes in the plot within the story that weren't resolved at the end. Within the film, they never told the viewers how Sun-woo came to work for Kang, and they never told the back-story of how Kang and Heesoo met each other, leaving out important...