FROM SOUTH KOREA: I've watched thousands of martial arts movies, but I've never witnessed one like director Lim Kyeong-taek's No Mercy, which recently played at the San Diego Asian Film Festival. Throughout the movie and even during the credits, you could have heard a pin drop.
I didn't see anyone leave their seats. When the crowd filed out of the theater at the end, people barely looked at one another. My guess is no one could escape the unspeakable premise presented by the movie's gruesomely uncomfortable plot.In-ae (played by Lee Si-young) is a bodyguard who, because of some previous brutal tactics she used to help a client, gets sent to prison. Upon release, she assures her mentally challenged, high-school-age sister Eun-hye that she'll never leave again. Later, Eun-hye unwittingly falls in with the wrong crowd and gets kidnapped, but the police don't seem to care. Eun-hye is sexually abused by a group of teens, who pass her on to equally evil men. In-ae must then face the question, What do you do when you confront the men who raped your sister?No Mercy is full of such touchy subjects, including school bullying, treatment of the mentally challenged, sex trafficking, exploitation of minors, and complacency and hubris on behalf of law enforcement. Furthermore, it blurs the lines between politicians and criminals.At the Brussels International Film Festival, Lim spoke about the movie: "I wanted to express the woman as a victim without avoiding that real expression of being a victim.