Our Midnight

A pretentious arsehole actor meets a woman on a bridge with actual real problems.

The film starts with Jihoon’s long-suffering girlfriend dumping him, like the woman of sense she is. After a decade in a relationship together, he has no intention of marrying her, or concern about contributing financially. He is an act-tor don’t you know, and the fact he is not supporting himself by acting or any other work seems to bother him not a jot. Now they’ve passed 30, she wants to get her life started, and maybe one day provide for her family. This confirms Jihoon’s opinion of himself as the only true artist.

With no girlfriend to presumably leach off of, he takes a job patrolling the bridges over the Han River in the centre of Seoul, a big spot for suicides. The purpose is to approach anyone standing on their own who looks like they are considering jumping, and kind of just giving them a bit of company and chit chat to deflect the impulse in the moment. They send this self-involved cretin with low emotional intelligence off to do this highly sensitive job after a quick Powerpoint presentation.

On his first night, he meets Eunyeung, a woman who had a relationship with a coworker which turned violent and ended with his arrest, and is now being pressured to leave her job because she is a headache for HR. There’s a business with no gender-based violence policy.

Jihoon finds her ready to jump on the bridge and chats to her, telling her he’s there to jump too, but maybe it might do them good to go for a walk for a little while. He encourages her to talk, telling her all about his problems as an out-of-work actor, unappreciated by those around him *eyeroll*. He then comes up with the great idea of roleplay, and makes her act out a scene with him in which he gets to exercise his acting chops by playing an abusive partner. He is excited at the challenge of performing one of the most traumatic moments in her life. He comforts her by telling her knows what she’s going through, because being mistreated by the person you love and trust most, then stigmatised and blamed for it publicly, that’s a lot like him not getting a lot of acting parts.

Ugh. This guy.

This film is shot mostly in black-and-white, is only an hour and a quarter long and yet the film title doesn’t show until 25 minutes into the movie. That’s all you need to know.

Jihoon does go on a bit of a character arc. Arc might be overstating it a bit, maybe something smaller, like an arcmin. Anyway, he does have a moment of self-reflection, for what seems like the first time in his life. Turns out dealing with suicide has emotional repercussions, and he seems to actually consider the topic for the first time. Which, I dunno man, I just have limited sympathy for. Maybe it’s living here, in the suicide capital of Scotland, but how can you only be noticing something like that in your 30s? They say in the movie that somebody’s going off these bridges almost every day, how can you be so blind to that?

Anyway, I’m sure he’ll use it for tools in his acting paintbox. After all, most things in this movie funnel back to being about him.