Film review: Night Flight, a gay drama about schoolyard bullying
It's a sure-fire recipe for audience manipulation to add latent homosexual impulses into South Korean high-school dramas, susceptible as they already are to scenes of vicious bullying. However, despite its descent into sentimentality and full-blown brutality, this gay-themed romance will likely also break a few hearts with its devastating tale about finding one's place in the world.
Directed by the openly gay Leesong Hee-il, Night Flight follows a trio of schoolboys who were playground friends at junior high but have grown apart in the following years. The gulf among them only grows wider when the closeted Yong-ju (Kwak Si-yang) confesses his love for gang leader Gi-woong (Lee Jae-joon), who has, in turn, become the chief oppressor of Yong-ju's nerdy friend Gi-taek (Choi Joon-ha).
After Gi-woong steals Yong-ju's bike to escape from a rival gang, the latter takes the occasion as an excuse to stalk his long-time crush, eventually eroding Gi-woong's resistance with reminders of their innocent past together. But as Gi-taek struggles to cope with the bullying of Gi-woong's gang, betrayal and its violent repercussions become inevitable.
Leesong chooses to advance the film's plot through rather archaic values, be it pervasive homophobia or the outrageous corporal punishment in the school it portrays. Still, the emotions sensitively depicted in this slow-burning tragic drama make Night Flight surprisingly engaging.
Starring: Kwak Si-yang,Lee Jae-joon,Choi Joon-ha Director: Leesong Hee-il Category: III (Korean)
Night Flight opens on June 11