Breathless review

Spitting and swearing - who said romance was dead?

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As brazen as you’d expect from a film with a name that recalls an arthouse tentpole, this debut from writer-director-star Yang Ik-Joon is tonally, one-of-a-kind odd-couple movie.

His Song-hoon is a no-fuse debt enforcer, dishing out abuse to all comers, who gets a shock when a schoolgirl (Kim Kot-bi) stands up to him.

As their developing friendship opens up redemptive possibilities, Ik-Joon probes the cyclical nature of violence in realist style.

The partly melodramatic plot is overlong, but that core coupling offers pleasures aplenty, touching your heart from the moment she rounds on his nasty piece of work with a ringing “fucking retard” after he gobs on her.

Freelance writer

Kevin Harley is a freelance journalist with bylines at Total Film, Radio Times, The List, and others, specializing in film and music coverage. He can most commonly be found writing movie reviews and previews at GamesRadar+.