Loving single mother. Lethal hired assassin. These vocations may seem worlds apart, but both find themselves intertwined in the double life of Gil Boksoon (Jeon Do-yeon).
Premiering only on Netflix today (March 31st), the action-packed film follows a week in the life of this atypical working mother, who gets thrown into a “kill-or-get-killed” situation after she has second thoughts about renewing her contract with MK Ent, a top-tier hitman agency.
The reason for her change in heart? Her increasingly strained relationship with her teenage daughter, Gil Jae-young (Kim Si-A). As Boksoon reflects in one scene, “Killing people is simple compared to raising a kid.”
Directed by Byun Sung-hyun (The Merciless, Kingmaker), the film was invited to the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival and marks Jeon’s first full-fledged action film.
Inspired by real-life conversations
The film’s concept was largely based on Byun’s personal conversations with Jeon, who was the first Korean to win the Best Actress award at the 60th Cannes Film Festival for her performance in 2007 film Secret Sunshine.
The two were introduced by Sul Kyung-gu, who collaborated with Byun thrice and plays Cha Min-kyu, the chairman of hitman agency MK Ent in Kill Boksoon.
Byun was particularly inspired by the real-life conversations that Jeon had with her 14-year-old daughter.
“I felt that the mom Jeon Do-yeon and the actress Jeon Do-yeon are two quite different people… If I replace acting in her life with killing, that would be very contradictory and ironic,” says Byun.
An unlikely story with universal values
Intentionally veering away from the typical action film storyline about revenge that culminates in a grand finale fight, Byun wanted to put a twist to the cliché portrayal of contract killers, highlighting the drama within the action.
Even the action sequences were thoughtfully choreographed to bring out the layers of each character involved. Byun did this by observing the demeanor of his actors — how they laugh, smile and talk in a natural setting — and incorporating them into the action scenes.
Although the plotline of Kill Boksoon is unlikely to happen in real life, the film’s layered characters demonstrate universal values like personal growth and the importance of family that everyday audiences can relate to.
Says Byun: “Rather than an action film where everything blows up, it’s an educational movie, not one where the mom educates her child but the other way round.”
Watch ‘Kill Boksoon’ only on Netflix from today.
Thank you for reading this post.