A guilty pleasure for some and handsome balderdash for others, “In My End Is My Beginning” is a wannabe erotic meller that keeps its audience waiting 75 minutes for the lesbian money shots. Essentially a director’s cut of a seg (“La Fin et le debut”) in the portmanteau feature “Five Senses of Eros,” this glossy tale of two women, involved in a vaguely S&M relationship after the death of a man they sexually shared, looks to become a collector’s item on DVD, but not much more outside Asia.
The story actually works much better in its 28-minute “Eros” version, which, though over condensed, allows less time to ponder the unbelievable characters, the arty pretensions (including the title, based on a T.S. Eliot quote) and the lack of any real chemistry between the two femme leads, which all dilute the pic’s erotic heft.
Writer-helmer Min Kyu-dong, who made the entertaining ensembler “All for Love” and super-glossy, super-gay bakery comedy “Antique,” adds unnecessary voiceovers that comment on the action, as well as more than 40 minutes of footage, which basically extends scenes or ideas already in the short.
New to the feature version is a long opening sequence of husband Min Jae-in (Hwang Jeong-min) engaging in some hotsy S&M bed games with his young mistress, Gang Na-ru (Kim Hyo-jin), which is crosscut with drinking scenes of Min and his older wife, Lee Jeong-ha (Eom Jeong-hwa). When Min dies in an auto accident while having thrill-seeking sex with Gang (female v.o.: “Is that the end?”; male v.o.: “No, it’s the beginning”), the two women meet up at his lakeside funeral, where Lee tosses her hubby’s ashes in Gang’s face.
Lee seems to carry on with her life, but actually still imagines Min around the house. Finally, Gang or a version of Gang magically appears (via elaborate CGI) and, to atone for her deeds, promises to be Lee’s slave. Her duties include eating videotape of her seshes with Min along with some noodles.
Helmer Min is a dab hand at ravishing designer visuals, but they’re as emotionally meaningless as the pic’s designer idea. Late-on sequence where the two women finally get it on, is only medium-hot and visually tame, with Lee actually imagining she’s having sex with her husband. Romantic-comedy vet Eom (“Singles,” “All for Love”) is as classy as ever as the wife, and the much younger Kim OK as the submissive mistress, but they’re basically acting in different movies.