Peppermint Candy (1999) a.k.a. Bakha Satang
Negatives:It takes about ten minutes for the story to really get going.
If you’ve never heard of Kyung-Gu Sol, do yourself a favour and watch him amaze you.
I DON’T WANT TO DIE ALONE
The year is 1999. A man on the verge of a psychotic breakdown attends a reunion organized by his old classmates, some of whom he hasn’t seen in 20 years. The gathering takes place near a river and some train tracks, and it isn’t long before he decides to use them. He starts going nuts, frantically sprinting through the water until he vanishes. Only to reappear on the train tracks, in a complete state of distress, yelling out the final words: “I’m going back!“. The poor man then willingly lets the oncoming train crush him into oblivion. That man was Kim Yongho and what happens next in “Peppermint Candy” is quite interesting…
In reverse chronology*, we go back three days to see what lead to his sudden departure from this world. What we find is a man on the brink of insanity, looking for ways to kill himself and those around him. He lives in a state of poverty, trying to evade the law as best he can. Until one night, a man with a strange request comes knocking on his door…
* When I say reverse chronology, I’m talking about showing the last scene of the movie first. Then as soon as the scene ends, the one that should have preceded it commences. ( i.e. like starting with scene 10, then scene 9, then scene 8, etc… )
Using this effective technique, “Bakha Satang” will continuously take you further and further back. Sometimes you’ll go back years to examine the highs and lows ( well, mostly lows ) of Kim Yongho‘s tumultuous life. Thankfully, he is played to perfection by Kyung-Gu Sol. And this guy is utterly amazing. He brings this peculiar character to life like no other could and delivers a truly stunning performance.
What is so mesmerizing to watch is how despicable this man really is/was. Luck ( or fate, let’s not split hairs ) doesn’t seem to favour him one bit but he compounds his misery by being obnoxious, violent and abusive. The more you get to know Kim Yongho, the less you care for him. The rest of the cast includes Yeo-Jin Kim as Hongja ( or Yongja, I’ve seen it both ways ) and So-Ri Moon as Sunim, the love interests of our enigmatic protagonist. Both of whom do a good job of complementing Kyung-Gu Sol on-screen.
Technically, everything is on point. The cinematography, the music, the direction… no problems there. On the negative side, it might be a bit too long ( 129 minutes ) for a character exploration-type film ( although I loved “Forrest Gump” and that one was even longer ). Otherwise “Bakha Satang” is a solid drama that features an incredible performance by its leading actor. It’s definitely not for everyone but I’d recommend giving it a shot anyways.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4DDoOkpzlc&feature=BFa&list=ULUu0aYrYggBA [ part 2 ]Peppermint Candy (1999) a.k.a. Bakha Satang,