Directed by: #ParkHoonjung
Written by: #ParkHoonjung
Hiding out in Jeju Island following a brutal tragedy, a wronged mobster with a target on his back connects with a woman who has her own demons.
No description of Night in Paradise can truly give you an idea of what story you are about to watch unfold. This gritty Korean crime drama, which has been newly released on Netflix, holds many intriguing aspects that make potential audience members want to join in on this brutal journey; such as the talented main cast and well known individuals who are part of the filmmaking team behind the scenes. Taking a slight sidestep from this, the story itself is so perfectly coiled and corrupt that there isn’t a way to lay it out in a synopsis – for some, this may be a tedious feature, but to me it’s the most intriguing of all. The idea one has of the plot before viewing isn’t nearly matched to what carries out.
The single downside I have to declare with the plot is that it moves rather slowly at times. Unnecessary silences and drawn out scenes appear every so often, however I think that must be a directorial style choice overall and I can almost see the impact that was hoped for here… but it doesn’t quite meet the mark regardless.
Taking the attention away from the lagging moments within the film, I cannot speak highly enough on how the plot catches hold of the mind as it progresses. This isn’t like the typical gangster-type film where one side eventually triumphs, still concluding with deaths of significant characters through dramatic climaxes. Instead, Night in Paradise follows a story of revenge at many lengths and that is its baseline. Each action has consequences and those consequences are revealed on screen; at no point does violence feel either doubtful or lacking. Honour and trust is broken and a punch to the gut is taken, these elements are broken between the characters again and again which leads to the ultimate climax to officially conclude. There are no saviours or a sense of escape which is so very thrilling. There isn’t love either, which you might be surprised by if you read the short introduction included at the start of this review. There is only a connection and bond in revenge and sacrifice. Without sounding quite insane, I dare say it’s life-like. There isn’t a place to hide and live peacefully, nor is there a certified feeling of trust in close, mobster partnerships. Seriously… 10/10 for this concept.
Night in Paradise is jam-packed with spectacular acting of different ranges, but I want to particularly highlight the skill shown by Jeon Yeobin who plays Jaeyeon, the ‘woman with her own demons.’ This character requires an immense amount of passion and talent to perfect as she comes from a background of continuing trauma, made worse by having to share a living space with a mobster who is closely tied with those who have caused her pain. She holds an incredibly emotional stance in the film as the rest of the characters are somewhat ‘immune’ to the sight of blood and injury – that’s what they experience on a weekly basis after all. Jeon Yeobin showcases an impressive display of despair, desperation, and also a sense of freedom that has resulted from being at peace with the thought of death. Jaeyeon is a complex character, but with Jeon’s striking acting abilities every emotion that she feels is immediately transferred to viewers through their fixated gaze.
The highest praiseworthy component of Night in Paradise by far is the music. When I saw that Mowg composed the music for this film my excitement grew in abundance even before viewing. Lee Sunghyun has composed some of my favourite film soundtracks throughout the years, like The Witch: Part 1 – Subversion (2018), The Age of Shadows (2016), and most notably I Saw the Devil (2010). His work on this film definitely did not disappoint either. Knowing when to add to suspense and enhancing emotional impact is a valuable trait Mowg carries with him to every project.
As a great lover of cinematic gore and violence, Night in Paradise definitely satisfies my need for bloody and expertly directed fight scenes/sequences. The visuals are absolutely stunning (cinematography by Kim Youngho) which adds more bliss to the experience too. I enjoyed this film even more than I thought I would; always a pleasant surprise to uncover at the end of a film.