Billed as the "first break-out gay film from Korea," No Regret doesn't just break out—it demolishes everything in its path.
The film follows Su-min (Young-hoon Lee), an impoverished orphan—moving to Seoul, he works two jobs to put himself through night school. But a chance meeting with a wealthy stranger, Jae-min (Han Lee), derails his plans: Before long, Su-min is working as a rent boy in what can only be described as a karaoke brothel.
No Regret, shot with the immediacy of digital, lingers in the gritty darkness of male prostitution. (In other words, there's plenty of dimly lit, explicit gay sex between beautiful Korean men.) For Su-min, this detour's about the money—but as he grows more jaded and cynical (if that's even possible for an impoverished gay orphan), he shuts himself off from the possibility of love.
But just when you feel as if No Regret is just going to be one more subtitled, seen-it-all-before gay melodrama, the narrative turns on its heels and hits you in the face with a shovel. No Regret, gay drama or not, is a Korean film—one that's original, yes, but also one that comes from the same Korean cinematic traditions that brought about such extreme masterpieces as Oldboy.