Breathless Review

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Brutal debt collector finds relief in his relentless daily schedule through his relationship with a schoolgirl with problems of her own.


Yang Ik-joon’s debut outing as writer, director, producer and star is a laudable achievement, even though his scenario rambles. The seething product of a violently broken home, Yang’s pitiless thug meets his match in serially abused schoolgirl Kim Gol-bi. However, their friendship is fatally threatened by his father and her brother.

The byplay between Yang and Kim is exceptional, as they reconnect with long-suppressed emotions. But Yang allows the climactic action to descend into melodrama, with Kim mawkishly driven to self-harm. Nevertheless, his use of the mean streets and depiction of a debt collector’s grim routine and intimidatory tactics are inexorably authentic.

Impressive first effort by the writer/director/producer/star this downbeat drama is sincere and authentic.