Kylts’s review published on Letterboxd:
Gritty and powerful with the driving-force being its three distressed and conflicted characters.
This is my introduction to Lee Chang-dong's films and considering it was his directorial debut and how low-scale it is, I was very impressed with it as a whole and can already see why he's so highly considered: (even though this isn't one of his most revered entries)
Mostly in just how emotionally potent, chaotic and evocative so many of the scenes were; immaculately blending them together to create a tragic yet heartfelt tone, with the characters state of mind lingering throughout and a lot of blunt realism to underline the situation they are in.
Makdong and Miae on the train, Taegon reminiscing about his troubled times in the restaurant that turned him over to the police, Makdong's mother's birthday spiralling out of control, as well as his ending monologue in the phone booth - these scenes by themselves stuck out to me the most, however, what most impressed me was how it never felt like Lee Chang-dong didn't know how long or short any of the shots should be to be impactful or inform - not a second wasted throughout the film.
The score laid it on too thick for my tastes at times, but considering the era it came from that's not something out of the ordinary.