September 9, 2008

Bad Guy: Pimp Makes College Girl a Pretty Woman

Screw Julia Roberts. Director Kim Ki-duk knows prostitution is a nasty job capable of leaving a stink worse than the garbage man's. How's it start? Well, you've been framed. You owe some man $10,000 because you found his wallet then tried to steal the cash but you got caught red-handed so you took out an illegal loan to avoid going to jail but it basically turned you into a whore. That's the deal. Now, at $50 a bang, you're going to need to service 200 customers to pay him back. And that's not accounting for overhead—the rent, the cut for your madam and three pimps, the cost of cotton-candy colored wigs and a couple of batik summer dresses. Now you're up to 400 or 500 customers. How to keep count? How did this start again? Does the college girl (Seo Won) hate the ruffian (Jo Jae-hyeon) who trapped her into tricking or does the constant degradation eventually wear her down? A love story in the mold of The Story of O, Bad Guy is a harrowing descent into self-annihilation, a terrifying spin on class warfare, a despairing look at masochism's relationship to the world's oldest profession and maybe plain old human existence as well. It's a date movie for people who don't want to touch afterwards.

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