Bloody Tie

BLOODY TIE 사생결단 (Korea, 2006)
98 minutes, Digibeta, in Korean with English subtitles
Directed by: Choi Ho
Starring: Ryoo Seung-Beom, Hwang Jung-Min
Star Ryoo Seung-Beom will be in attendance.

This year’s festival features two movies about cops and drug dealers, each of them anchored by two powerhouse performers playing the desperate criminal and the ice cold cop. From China and Johnnie To comes Drug War, but from Korea comes this movie that’s part of our focus on actor Ryoo Seung-Beom, BLOODY TIE. And, while Drug War is a terrific movie, for sheer character acting grit, BLOODY TIE might just be the superior film. It’s already got a reputation as an under-seen Korean classic, full of bloody-knuckled action and face-shredding set pieces.

Ryoo Seung-Beom plays a mid-level drug dealer who’s happy with his clients, happy with his career, and happy with his cheap flashy suits. He also happens to be a police informer, dropping a dime to cop Hwang Jung-Min whenever it serves his interests. Hwang is a deeply corrupt cop, happy to skim money and occasionally turn in an arrest to make his boss happy, but otherwise he’s coasting. After a series of bloody mistakes, Hwang and Ryoo team up with the cop offering the crook a year of protection if he’ll help him bring down the new drug kingpin. Ryoo reluctantly agrees, already planning a double cross, and the game is on.

There are no bonds of brotherhood here, no blood oaths, or accusations that “We’re both the same under the skin!” Instead it’s two men trying to serve their own self-interests in a world where the slightest mistake means death and where trust is a dirty word. Director Choi Ho went on to helm the fabulous musical spectacular Go Go 70’s (2008) and Hwang Jung-Min would just add this performance to his already-impressive resume, but for Ryoo it was a revelation. Not working with his brother, director Ryoo Seung-Wan, critics sat up and took notice of Ryoo’s deeply felt performance that comes off the screen with a sweaty intensity. It’s a movie that earned him three “Best Actor” award nominations, and he took home the trophy at the Baeksang Arts Awards. It’s an essential film in his filmography showing a young actor just discovering how good he can really be.

Part of Korean Actor in Focus: Ryoo Seung-Beom

Monday July 1, 6:15PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets