Shinema Sunday: Fatal 가시꽃 {2012}

Sorry that I didn’t get a chance to post my weekly movie review on Saturday but since it’s still a weekend day and it starts with “S”, let’s call today Shinema Sunday 🙂

Fatal {Korean Movie 2012}

The Indie début by first time director and producer, Lee Don Ku, Fatal is a South Korean Movie that had its world première at the Busan International Film Festival on October 2, 2012 and was officially released on August 22, 2013.

The story centers around 28-year-old Sung Gong {Nam Yeon Woo} who is very timid, shy and living with deep guilt and shame.  10 years ago, Sung Gong was bullied into taking part in the brutal rape of a classmate, Park Jang Mi {Yang Jo A} by Kyung-sang {Hong Jung-ho}, Hyung-woo {Kim Hee-sung} and Sae-woon {Kang Gi-doong}.  Since then Sung Gong has lived a mediocre life and struggles with thoughts of that tragic day so that prompts him to join a church where he connects and forges a friendship with Jang Mi and experiences first hand the trauma that she deals with daily. As Sung Gong struggles with redemption, guilt and absolution, the ending result is bittersweet.

 My Thoughts

First things first,  The opening is left to imagination and doesn’t show the real crime being committed.  I did breathe a sigh of relief because I probably would have fast forwarded through that part. NOW…….

This is a very slow building thriller that is very intense and forthright from the beginning.  It draws you in to the main characters and has you questioning your decision to either feel compassion or no compassion for Sung Gong.

In this film, Lee Don Ku brings to light the subject of bullying, religion, rape, & forgiveness as an “in your face and you can’t hide” from the truth .It makes you sit up and deal with your ideas about these particular subjects and trust me, IT AIN’T PRETTY!

For me, I was struggling with having compassion for the lead character, Sung Gong.  I saw him being bullied, I saw his reluctance, I saw his sadness, I saw his fear. I saw everything he was going through and struggled to believe him when he told the boys he didn’t do anything. I am still not sure if he actual did or he made it look like he did because he knew they would watch.  As I type this, I am still convincing myself that he pretended because he knew they were peeping through the door.

The movie never confirms if Sung Gong did the real act of rape but it confirms his struggle with the reality that he was present and kept quiet about the crime.   There were multiple opportunities that Sung Gong tried to tell Jang Mi the truth about his involvement but he held back and tried to make amends by contacting the other participants and  suggesting they come clean but to no avail.  So he decided to be judge, jury, and prosecution and the outcome is nothing nice.

There were a few aspects that fell flat in their translation. The religious aspect of the movie could have been better.  The idea of remorse and redemption fell flat mainly because the  symbolism was sketchy at most and a bit unbelievable and the lighting of the movie was awesome in some parts and hard to see in others.  When it called for a dark and dangerous undertone, it turned out to be too dark to see actual movements and that made the movie lose some pivotal moments. Regardless of those minor hiccups, the message was very well received.

Fatal has a few open conclusion moments especially the ending such as: Did Sung Gong take part in the real act of rape, Did Jang Mi find out the truth about Sung Gong,  Did she forgive him if she did find out?   You as the viewer are left to question those things for your self.

My overall reaction to Fatal is a very good one. I highly recommend watching it and coming to your own conclusions. So my rating would be 7/10


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