Following his harrowing drama Han Gong-ju (2013), director Lee Su-jin turns to noir, established by opening shots of a rainy nocturnal cityscape. In an instantly arresting voiceover, Yoo Joong-sik (Lee Chang-dong regular Sul Kyung-gu) intimately describes masturbating his mentally challenged son Bu-nam, introducing the central theme of errant fatherhood.
Bu-nam has been killed in a hit-and-run accident. “Hiding details now could have consequences later,” insists rising politician Koo Myung-hui (Han Seok-kyu), making his guilty son confess to the police – but with the full extent of the crime becoming clearer, decent Myung-hui sinks ever lower in covering up a situation that threatens his political ambitions. As he and Joong-sik circle each other in search of Bu-nam’s missing bride Ryun-hwa (Chun Woo-hee), everyone’s buried secrets lead to a violent collision of class and politics from which nobody emerges looking pretty. Broodingly paced and elliptically plotted, Lee’s film unleashes an iconoclastic onslaught of grief, corruption and revenge.