Because I am not done with my Lee Je Hoon spree, I watched his darker piece, Bleak Night. Bleak Night tells the story of a broken friendship between three young boys. Ki-Tae, Hee-Joon (Becky), and Dong Yoon were three best friends who literally did everything together and ruled the school together. However, a break in their friendship started after Becky witnessed a private talk between a girl he liked and Ki-Tae. He became jealous and slowly isolated himself from Ki-Tae. Meanwhile, Ki-Tae who had chosen his friendship over this girl, was confused at Becky’s coldness. He tried apologizing a couple of times to Becky and to clear up the misunderstanding, to which all were coldly rebuffed. This provoked Ki-Tae into bullying Becky instead in his way of trying to make Becky react to him. This further alienated Becky to the point where Becky decided to transfer schools to get away. This depressed Ki-Tae a lot since he had really liked being friends with Becky. Meanwhile, Dong Yoon who had been friends with Ki-Tae since childhood was caught in between this stalemate. Ki-Tae in an effort to revive his pride, blustered and bullied others everyday. He wanted to keep up a strong front to hide the fact that he was extremely lonely as his family was never home. He only had his friends and pride to keep him going. After another incident where Ki-Tae went to far and broke up a romantic liaison between Dong-Yoon and a girl he liked, it was the last straw. With the girl ending up in the hospital and Dong-Yoon pissed at the situation, Dong-Yoon said the unforgivable words. Ki-Tae who had come to apologize for the situation, was rebuffed harshly by Dong Yoon as well. Dong Yoon said Ki-Tae was the source of all the misfortunes and should not have existed in the first place. Unfortunately, these were the words that broke Ki-Tae, who then committed suicide.
What is unique about this movie was that it was told almost backwards since it starts out with the funeral of Ki-Tae and a father who was trying to piece together what had happened for his child to commit suicide. As he visits the two friends, he can only get a watered down picture of their friendship and the events that had happened between them. The story is told in fragments and flashbacks. Becky’s perspective came first as we learn how he was bullied. Then Dong-Yoon, who had dropped out of school due to the suicide, told the second half which had broken Ki-Tae. Much of the story was up to your interpretation as to who was in the right or wrong, and the grey spaces in between. Ki-Tae is portrayed very sympathetically as a lonely boy who only knew how to bluster and bully, but ultimately treasured his friendships above his own life. What was tragic was that Ki-Tae did attempt to make amends and apologize, but it was the cold rebuffs from both his friends that pushed him over the ledge, literally. However, it is also true that his bullying tactics made him seem like a monster in his friend’s eyes. Although we already knew the ending, I still yearned that the misunderstandings could be resolved. Let’s just say I wished it was the School 2013 bromance route.
PS. Lee Je Hoon’s fierce portrayal of Ki-Tae was fantastic. His killer glares were intimidating, and when we saw those rare vulnerable parts where he tried to open up to his friends, it was heartbreaking. You both hated and loved him.