'Bedevilled', directed by Jang Cheol-so (S. Korea)

Everyone gets fed up sometimes. Hae-won (Ji Sung-won) is a curt young woman, bullied by thugs on the street when she's not denying loan applications at her bank. A series of incidents and one lost temper later, she has plenty of time with which to take a much-needed vacation to her childhood home on Moo-do Island. For Hae-won, it's a rural locale devoid of modern conveniences; for Bok-nam (a terrific Seo Yeong-hee), her friend's arrival is a welcome respite from the constant chores and sexual assaults that make up her day-to-day life. Bok-nam is curious about the mainland, and just as desperate to flee Moo-do with her daughter in tow. A series of incidents and one lost temper later, though, the island's population begins to be whittled down with ruthless efficiency...

Making his directorial debut, Jang Cheol-so slowly shifts focus from one frustrated female to the other, piling on injustices with a heavy hand for the better part of an hour before finally letting loose with his protagonist's righteous fury. The set-up may not be subtle -- the local elders are a constantly nagging lot, and a transparent button-pushing device so far as audience sympathies are concerned -- but the ultimate pay-off is certainly, viscerally satisfying.
categories Cinematical