The President's Last Bang | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The President's Last Bang

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Writer-director Im Sang-soo deftly weaves fact and fiction in this sardonic and gripping dramatization of the events surrounding the 1979 assassination of South Korean president Park Chung Hee, who ruled the country as de facto dictator for 18 years. Depicting the bloody, messy coup, Im focuses on Ju (Han Suk-kyu), chief agent of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, whose anger toward the president boils over after he's forced to straighten out one too many tawdry incidents involving a young prostitute. Im's previous feature, The Good Lawyer's Wife (2003), showed his corrosive view of humanity. Here his multilayered depiction of the assassination of Park and several of his cohorts is punctuated by a healthy dose of gallows humor. With Baik Yoon-shik as the KCIA director and coconspirator. In Korean with subtitles. 104 min. Gene Siskel Film Center.

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