EMOTIONAL TURBULENCE is an unavoidable part of growing up. The young people are often so vulnerable to the chaotic process of growing. The movie Bleak Night portrays such growing pains of the immature young adults with which everyone can sympathize.
Ki-tae is a high school bully with two of his best friends, Dong-yun and Hee-jun, always defending him by his side. They start off as the three musketeers, with a seemingly unbreakable bond amongst them. However, Dong-yun and Hee-jun gradually grow sick of Ki-tae’s violent and oppressive behavior. Ki-tae desperately tries to hold on to the friends who are slowly straying away, but his immaturity impedes him from delivering his true feelings. The dismantled friendship becomes almost irreversible as the three former friends refuse to communicate with one another and let the misunderstandings fester. The character’s inability to effectively communicate and resolve the misunderstandings is almost frustrating. However, the inability to effectively communicate is natural for an immature teenager.
Ki-tae has always been a lonely kid. Ki-tae implies his desperate need for attention when he quotes “when I was young, I wanted to be a baseball player because then I could become the center of attention.” His father is always busy and neglects him, which eventually leads the desolate teenager to commit suicide. Had Ki-tae received any type of affection, either friendship or paternal love, he could have been saved. This shows how even the smallest sign of care and affection may even save a person’s life.
“I believe that a movie should be able to show the director’s cinematic characteristics. I am continuously working to utilize cinematic techniques to portray hidden messages behind the scenes.” As director Yoon Sung-hyun, commented during the interview with Cine21, he has hidden many symbolic messages within the movie. One of the most important symbols is the railroad that reflects the changes in Ki-tae’s relationships with his two other friends. In the early part of the film, the three friends stand at the railroad together, playing a game of baseball. However, in the latter part, their friendship dismantles and only Dong-yun stands on the railroad, mourning Ki-tae’s death. Furthermore, the endless railroad also implies the irreconcilable friendship, which has already been thoroughly destructed. Also, the place is very bright and vivid with all three friends together, whereas it is dark and monotonous when Ki-tae is alone. With the symbolic color contrast, the director effectively expresses the end of the relationship. Additionally, the director frequently zooms into the actions and facial expressions of actors, which helps audiences to feel like they are actually there to witness the events. The director effectively delivers his message through his cinematic techniques, which makes the film even more attractive for the audience.
With the director’s unique cinematic skills, Bleak Night effectively portrays the emotional turbulence of the ostracized teenagers. The viewers can sympathize with Ki-tae’s torment. The movie’s cinematic techniques and thoughtful messages keep the audiences thinking even after the movie has ended.
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