Struggling writer Jong-su (Yoo) runs into Hae-mi (Jun), an acquaintance from his old neighborhood, and they instantly bond. After having sex in her tiny apartment, she asks him to cat-sit while she goes on vacation. Jong-su feeds the cat but never actually sees it. When Hae-mi returns, she is accompanied by wealthy playboy Ben (Yuen) and Jong-su becomes a reluctant third wheel. Soon after, Hae-mi mysteriously disappears. What happened?
Loosely based on a short story by Haruki Murakami (which explains the cat), this atmospheric work is a noirish mystery fueled by an intriguing love triangle. Keeping the audience off-balance, Chang-dong peppers the drama with political and social elements, setting some of the story near the DMZ and depicting Ben (a superb Yuen) as a westernized Gatsby type. This haunting award-winner is a layered, cinematically bold portrait of class and stifled anger.