Night in Paradise

Netflix has done alright, y’know? It’s brought some pretty decent international films into the homes of millions of people. They’re all right there, they’ve even got their own section. Yes, it’s true!

OK, so some are pretty rank but you’ve also got a great chance to find something brilliant and so totally different from the raft of other films that are on that same platform. South Korean films are somewhat known for their prowess in the violent revenge/thriller genre and when they do it well, they do it VERY well. And this leads us nicely onto Night in Paradise.

There are many different directors and writers that have turned their hand to this genre but when you see a name like Park Hoon-jung, you know that here is someone who knows his shit and will bring it every time. Being involved in such classic films as I Saw the Devil (writer), New World (Writer and director) and The Witch: Part 1 (writing and directing one of my favourites…) the pedigree is there already. So, how does Night In Paradise hold up in this esteemed company?

Pretty damn well is the answer.

Starring Uhm Tae-goo (I Saw the Devil, The Age of Shadows) as Park Tae-goo (the same name? what are the chances?), an assassin and general jopok (Jojik-Poklyeokbae the Korean equivalent of Yakuza or Mafia. You learn something new every day, eh?) has been courted by the rival gang, but stays committed to his gang and his boss. Now, everyone knows that 90% of being in organised crime is saving face. Any kind of slight against your aura/outlook/persona is taken very harshly. In this instance an “accident” is arranged against Tae-goo and, as is usual in these organised crime syndicates, revenge is sought.

So, Tae-goo does what is needed and ends up being the focal point of the entire Bukseong gang (his rivals) and he heads off to Jeju Island to lie low with sympathetic peoples out there. With nothing to do Tae-goo resorts to smokin’ and drinkin’, the oldest and best pastimes. I’ve always been curious how Soju tastes as everyone in Korean films seems to drink it a lot! (*UPDATE* Soju is ordered and on the way. Further updates on how that goes will be snuck into future posts).

OK, that’s enough of the setting of the scene, but needless to say, slowly the pieces are being put into place for the coming storm…….

And when it hits tops speed it is brutally violent and shocking at times. Uhm Tae-goo puts in a real shift in the action department, maybe that’s why he’s quite reserved in the other moments? Anyway, the action here is top notch and the consequences are always made clear and are undoubtably high for all involved. On top of this you also get a superb performance from Jeon Yeo-been as Kim Jae-yeon, the terminally ill but belligerent as fuck niece. Takes no shit from no one, this girl!

There are twists and turns as the real story is revealed and it all, understandably, turns to shit. The slow build up only serves to enhance the brutal, unflinching aspect of the finale, which isn’t what you expect but is pretty much perfect

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