Hae-rim (Seo Young-hee) starts her new job as an assistant nurse in the VIP ward of a hospital. One of the patients is an important investor in the hospital: a quadriplegic who has been in care for a decade, enduring numerous heart transplants. His son, Sang-woo (Kim Young-min) is willing to go to any lengths to keep his father alive. What gradually becomes apparent is that Sang-woo’s motivations may stem from something other than filial devotion.
When a young woman, Mina, arrives at the hospital battered, brain-dead and heavily pregnant, Hae-rim sets about looking for the baby’s father before its mother’s heart is harvested for another of The Chairman’s transplants.
The viewer is caused to wince, cringe and recoil as Mina’s short, unhappy life story is conjured through vivid flashbacks, through which Korean director, Shin Su-won paints a picture of brutality and injustice that leaves his viewers profoundly shaken. Consistently dim lighting throughout the film adds to its bleak, hopeless atmosphere. Meanwhile, a distinctly sinister thread runs through Hae-rim’s story in the hospital, where morality appears to have taken a back seat to wealth and intimidation.
Seo Young-hee expresses a quiet compassion in her role as Hae-rim, who it transpires harbours a deeply scarring secret. But not all the performances boast equal strength; there are some minor cases of over-acting in the case of Kim Young-min, and Kwon So-hyun, who plays Mina. Nonetheless, each certainly succeeds in establishing a strong identity for their character, and all elicit a wide range of emotions from the audience.
Madonna does not yet have a UK release date.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about Cannes Film Festival 2015 visit here.
Watch the trailer for Madonna here:
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