Review in Brief: The Villainess (2017)

Creative fight choreography and full-on violence is one thing, but what really blew me away about THE VILLAINESS was the cinematography. I can’t even begin to imagine how they achieved some of these impossible shots. For once a POV action scene isn’t jarring, in fact the gang hideout slaughter that opens the film is smooth and seamless. It doesn’t just look like someone’s just holding a camera at head height either, with the view shifting naturally as a person’s head would move to, for instance, avoid a machete flying towards your face. The spectacle is no less jaw-dropping elsewhere, particularly a death-defying (for the camera operator as well as the stunt performers if it was done for real) and ridiculous three-way bike chase/sword fight. Deliberately elusive storytelling is made even tricksier by non-linear plotting and a lead character (Kim Ok-bin) that changes her face halfway through, but if you make the effort and concentrate this is a satisfying, deliciously dark, and far from straightforward affair. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

I'm not paid to write about film - I do it because I love it. Favourite filmmakers include Bong Joon-ho, Danny Boyle, the Coen Brothers, Nicolas Winding Refn, Clio Barnard, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Verhoeven, Taika Waititi and Edgar Wright. All reviews and articles are original works written and owned by me. They represent one man's opinion, and I'm more than happy to engage in civilised debate if you disagree.
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