Night in Paradise is a South Korean drama film written and directed by Park Hoon-jung and starring Uhm Tae-goo, Jeon Yeo-bin and Cha Seung-won.
Night in Paradise’s first minute consists of a man chewing very loudly. As someone who hates loud chewers, this made me want to rip my ears out. With the first minute of the movie giving me a literal headache, it sets a precedent for what we are about to be exposed to.
Night in Paradise is a movie that has no happiness. Gangster movies seldom do and it’s all but accepted that that’s what you sign up for in such cases. However, most of the time there’s some form of happiness, humour or absolutely anything that can cut through the dark and grim reality that movies such as these want to portray. However, this one does not.
On the other hand, the movie consists of copious amounts of blood, gore, shootings and stabbings that might make you want to sit in the corner and cry. Listen, I love myself some blood and gore when it comes to horrors or thrillers. But with the movie consisting only of that and an atmosphere and everything that takes place being as bleak and… sad, you are made to rethink your life decisions.
Oh, and if you thought that the only beacon of happiness in this otherwise unhappy movie will be Tae-gu’s niece Ji-eun, you were wrong. There’s something very incessant about the way the bloodshed occurs in the movie.
So, Night in Paradise revolves around Tae-gu, who, after losing his sister and niece to a gang-related incident flees to Jeju Island. With a target on his back, he meets a terminally ill woman there and connects with her. The banter between Jae-yeon and Tae-gu does probably add some sort of humour to the mix, if you can call it that, but it’s still not enough. Considering Jae-yeon is terminally ill, there’s a lot of bleakness to that angle as well.
Night in Paradise is a movie about death. Anything that can be used as a weapon is used to break people’s heads, faces and any other part of the body open and the movie does not shy away from showing it loud and clear. There’s blood and gore everywhere that you might drown in and at some point, it just becomes too much. It also doesn’t help that all of this takes place at a pace that can put a tortoise to shame. The plot, the character development and everything else take place at such a leisurely pace that it becomes slow and boring after a point.
Uhm Tae-goo and Jeon Yeo-bin are the performances that bind this rather depressing movie together. Amongst all of the carnage that this world has to offer, these two souls feel different (not much, but you know). Yeo-bin gives a sympathetic look to her character, while Tae-goo’s character’s violent and calm (?) side are well encapsulated by the actor. However, with a film that is all about death and fatality, there’s not much even the actors can do to make you feel anything different.
Summing up: Night in Paradise
There are tender moments in Night in Paradise peppered in this carnage-filled and depressing movie. Moments where the characters open up about their lives and give us a glimpse into who they are other than gun-wielding and stabbing sociopaths. However, they fill you with sadness instead of making you feel anything else. Other than these, the movie only shows the brutality and banality of existence and the constant talks about “I’ll be dead soon” really dampen the viewing experience.
Night in Paradise is streaming on Netflix.
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