The Fives ("Deo Paibeu")
- South Korea
- 123 mins
- English (subtitles)
“A satisfying romp, nicely tweaked with injections of humour, horror and the odd surprise” - Pierce Conran, TWITCHFILM
Eun-a (Kim Sun-a) is happily married, and getting ready to celebrate her young daughter’s anniversary. On that same day, however, a random encounter with a serial killer changes her life forever, putting a fatal halt to all familial plans. The carnage plunges her into a coma, and at the hospital, her misfortune continues, as her doctor is secretly hoping she dies, so that an organ transplant can save his little girl. As he is about to take her life and make it look like an accident, she wakes up. Cut to two years later and Eun-a is now confined to a wheelchair, deeply traumatized by the experience. Obsessed with retribution and with nothing to lose, she takes it upon herself to avenge her family — but first, she needs a team. Blackmailing the doctor that almost took her life two years prior, she assembles three more experts — a hacker, a cop and a bodyguard — that all share one thing in common: marginalized, they’re in need of medical attention and Eun-a’s inevitable death could benefit them. She makes the ultimate bargain for the redemption of her family.
South Korea is known for its intense revenge thrillers and Jung Yeon-shik’s THE FIVES (an adaptation of his own popular webcomic) proves to be a gripping, fast-moving team spin on the usual formula. Standing out for its star-studded team of misfits (the ubiquitous Ma Dong-seok of MR. GO, Shin Jung-geun of THE GRAND HEIST, Lee Chung-a as well as Jung In-ki, seen this year in MISS GRANNY), THE FIVES also features a genuinely scary villain for them to go up against, in the form of a cold, calculating pretty-boy serial killer (On Joo-wan), a nasty piece of work that makes porcelain dolls out of his victim’s bones in an artfully set-decorated labyrinthine underground studio-lair that recalls TV’s recent HANNIBAL. Overall, THE FIVES is a slick and effective thrill-ride, carried by many propulsive twists and turns, finding the team foiled along the way, ever so close to vengeance. Yet, if retribution is the ultimate goal, the film is suffused with an interesting sense of desperation, a near-nihilism that makes for a rewardingly grim (rather than glorifying or upbeat) watch. If you like your vengeance served ice cold, and fivefold, THE FIVES delivers the goods.
— Ariel Esteban Cayer