Beat (1997)


To finally experience an iconic larger than life character, I had to meet Min. Introduced by Jung Woo-sung’s soft voice, Min is a master brawler, pulled into one unfortunate incident then another when tagging with his friends in their quest for mastery over their fate.

It is through Min’s soothing steady narration of his life that we develop a heartfelt bond with him and also realize how much of an anchored individual he is. No matter which vortex he gets sucked into, he is unruffled and clear-headed about his priorities. He does not want power, riches or a comfortable life. All he wants is to be true to his nature – to live a life of dignity, content with taking care of his loved ones. This clarity of vision gives him the strength and assurance to make simple and natural choices when faced with problems. But these choices lead him spiralling downwards. But it is also because of those same choices that he lives a life without regrets.

In that, Min transforms into an attractive rebel in our eyes without meaning to. He is vibrant and strong in the face of everything, struggles don’t faze him, riches don’t call to him, and he has no pity to spare for his circumstances. He takes not the course followed by people to set their place in the world, nor does he burden himself with the unnecessary expectations of society. He lives in the moment, his head screwed on right, always true to man’s true nature and calling. The beaten path is not for Min because he perceives that that path offers no fulfilment for him.

Unfortunately, Min finds no answers to his quest because there is no one wiser to guide him. The elusive moments he is able to move towards this silence are when he is speeding on his bike Beat, feeling alive and complete. But like an arrow shot at an unseen target, those moments on Beat also make him aware of how unfathomable and evasive his desires are.

In the end, we feel no regrets because he lived a fulfilled life. We are content because his was a life richly lived, with nothing held back. We feel pangs of parting sorrow but we celebrate because this was a fable of how a man thrived in a world run over by blind mice.