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Thursday, November 5, 2015

PIETA (2012)

Korean director Ki-duk Kim shows an easy command in this twisted Mother-Love saga, seasoning his revenge-thriller with family secrets & sick comic touches. Superbly structured, the story follows a cavalier loan-shark collector who specializes in crippling tardy clients (often with their own tool-and-die equipment) then sitting back to collect accident insurance as payoff. Complications arise when he’s confronted by a mad woman who claims she’s the mother who abandoned him 30 years ago. Seeking forgiveness, nothing seems to faze her, at one point adding a kick to help her son break a guy’s tibia at work, at another, lending a hand to help get him off. Yikes! Could she really be his mother? Or is this some test or trick from his rarely seen boss? Kim probably takes more time than he should teasing this out, but solves his puzzle in satisfying fashion with wonderfully clean technique and vivid perfs all ‘round. Jung-Jin Lee, who plays the blankly vicious, oddly sentimental enforcer brings sleepy bedroom eyes, incipient jowls and just a hint of a snarl on the upper lip. He’d make a perfect Korean Elvis. (Count that as a SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY.)

DOUBLE-BILL: More (even better) Korean Mother-Love in Joon-ho Bong’s MOTHER/’09.

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