Meditative killer in unexpectedly comic treatment

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Meditative killer in unexpectedly comic treatment

“I don’t kill just anybody. I only kill the rude ones.”
Those words are uttered by a hired assassin in “The Rude Ones” as he prances toward a villain to thrust a knife deeply into his chest. The villain slumps to the floor. The killer lights a cigarette and casually pulls his bloody 12-inch knife from the body and places it inside his leather jacket again.
“I am a ‘killar’ but I have rules of my own,” he adds with a smirk while adjusting his sunglasses.
It sounds like yet another exaggerated noir genre movie that uses excessive hyperactivity and churns out the cliches, and so it is, sort of. But it is also comical if you can ignore the gruesome killings that appear occasionally to remind you that you are watching a crime drama about hired killers.
“I hate meaningless murders,” says the killer again he leaves the scene of another killing. Before the film turns too brutal, you find yourself chuckling quietly (though the film also emphasizes humanity and introspective issues in a solemn tone, making it all the funnier).
None of the killer’s words are actually spoken out loud. Instead, they are interior monologues of the character, played by Shin Ha-gyun. The killer is not a mute, but he chooses not to speak because he has a speech problem that he is embarassed about.
To save face, however, he tells himself it is smart to pretend he can’t speak at all. (This explains why he pronounces killer as “killar” throughout the film). He finds out that a glossectomy would correct his speech impediment but that the surgery would cost 100 million won ($104,000). He cannot earn that amount from his job as a chef so he joins a group of assassins that promises him that making 100 million won is easy if he can just kill several people for their clients. After all, as a chef, he is handier with knives than a circus knife-thrower.
Killing comes all too easily for the character, but he starts to doubt whether he should continue the job. So he and his co-worker, a dancer named “Ballet,” decide that they will only kill the “rude ones.”
For “Killar,” the rude ones include lawmakers, doctors and pastors who have been embezzling, and thugs that harrass women and the weak. But for “Her,” Killar’s girlfriend in the film who finds him attractive because he does not talk about himself like other men, the rude ones are more commonplace and found everywhere in life.
The movie works well as a comedy, but some might find it moving as well because it does make you think silently after the movie that you might be one of the rude ones in Her’s eyes.
Directed by Park Cheol-hui, the film also stars Yoon Ji-hye as Her and Kim Min-jun as Ballet. The film opens next Thursday.


by Lee Min-a
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