May 1, 2008

Directed by Chris Chan Lee

Amidst night-lit asphalt and the dim smoky bars of Los Angeles' Koreatown, Chris Chan Lee's Undoing is a dark tale of forgiveness and self-redemption. One year after his friend Joon (Leonardo Nam) is killed, Samuel (Sung Kang) returns to Los Angeles to set things right. Through blackmail and a petty credit card scam, Samuel hopes to repay those he abandoned-exgirlfriend Vera (Kelly Hu), family friend Don Osa (Tom Bower) and Joon's family. With a melancholy soundtrack and sharp edit cuts, the film plays like a hazy dream with disconnected timeframes and sudden flashbacks. Kang delivers a strong performance, as does Russell Wong, who portrays a cold yet likable hit man. The film's interplay of light and shadows helps to create a dark, romantic quality that adds to the movie's film noir. Fans of Lee's earlier movie Yellow (1998) will not be disappointed. Although at times cliché, Lee's camera work and ability to express the self-tortured, introspective elements of his characters delivers a memorable viewing experience. -Calvin Shin

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