"Sordid, Pretentious Mother Fixations"
PIETA is an artsy Korean thriller that doesn’t quite work, partly because it has some really disgusting, but thankfully brief, content and some pretentious arty attempts at symbolism that abuses Christian icons and imagery.
The movie, which takes its title from paintings of the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus Christ, is about a brutal young debt collector who cripples poor workers who can’t pay his loan shark boss. A woman approaches him claiming to be the long-lost mother who abandoned him as a child. The young man brutalizes her because he doesn’t believe her, going so far as to rape her. However, when she expresses guilt and forgiveness, claiming that her abandonment turned him into such a mean, evil person, he starts to express kindness toward her and others. This leads, however, to a tragic, depressing ending that tries to use more Christian symbolism but ends up being rather pretentious and ultimately shallow and abhorrent.
PIETA is too artsy to be worthwhile aesthetically. That’s even more true when considering the movie’s entertainment value. Worse than this, however, is that the filmmakers try to take advantage of Christian symbolism in a tale with very strong sordid content. Thus, there’s an extremely disturbing rape scene, disturbing violence but little blood and gore, a suicide, a revenge theme, lots of strong foul language, and other lewd, disturbing content. PIETA also has an apparent anti-capitalist view, according to the director, who sees his movie as a strong criticism of a financial capitalism turning Korea into a “money oriented” society. Thus, the movie seems to have a strong Romantic worldview contending that it’s society that corrupts people. The director says he wants his movie to encourage the viewer to cry out, “God have mercy on us!” but that doesn’t come across in the movie at all.
Some may find PIETA interesting and profound, but, ultimately, it’s too cryptic, too sordid, too pretentious, and too much.
(RoRoRo, AcapAcapAcap, C, B, AbAbAb, LLL, VVV, SSS, NN, AA, D, MMM) Very strong Romantic, depressing, anti-capitalist worldview that allegedly criticizes a financial industry capitalism worshipping money doing away with a manufacturing one with some light Christian symbolism and moral elements but distorted into a dark worldview that results in a cynical, depressing, artsy commentary using Christian imagery regarding Madonna icons and images of blood atonement; 53 obscenities (including some “f” words) and zero profanities; very strong violence includes brutal rape scene, stabbing, fighting, woman jumps off building to commit suicide, man wraps chain with hook around his neck to commit suicide, implied crippling of legs and arms, man tosses man off roof to break some of his bones and stomps on man’s broken leg, wounded corpse shown, and man commits suicide when he learns truth about his life and becomes despondent by strapping himself under a truck and high camera angle shows red blood streak as truck travels down several highways; very strong sexual content includes man brutally rapes woman claiming to be his mother after putting his hand up her dress and asking if this is where he was born (with clothes on), man seems to have erotic dream and abuses himself in his sleep, and woman claiming to be man’s mother helps him abuse himself in another scene where he’s asleep having an erotic dream; painting shows woman’s nude breasts; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking; and, lying, deceit, revenge, hopelessness leads to suicide, guilt leads to suicide, loan sharking, etc.
PIETA is an artsy Korean thriller that takes its title from paintings of the Virgin Mary cradling Jesus Christ’s dead body. It’s about a brutal young debt collector who cripples poor workers who can’t pay his loan shark boss. A woman approaches him claiming to be the mother who abandoned him as a child. The young man brutalizes her because he doesn’t believe her, going so far as to rape her. However, she expresses guilt and forgiveness, claiming her abandonment turned him into such a mean, evil person. This encourages him to start expressing kindness toward her and others. This leads to a tragic, depressing ending.
PIETA doesn’t quite work. It tries to use Christian symbols and imagery to craft a profound story, but ends up being rather pretentious, shallow and abhorrent. The story is extremely sordid. Thus, it contains a really disturbing rape scene, disturbing violence but little blood and gore, suicide, revenge, strong foul language, and other lewd, disturbing content. PIETA has a strong Romantic, anti-capitalist worldview. Its sordid content and depressing Non-Christian worldview are a huge turn off.