“In 1986, in the province of Gyunggi, in South Korea, a second young and beautiful woman is found dead, raped and tied and gagged with her underwear. Detective Park Doo-Man and Detective Cho Yong-koo, two brutal and stupid local detectives without any technique, investigate the murder using brutality and torturing the suspects, without any practical result. The Detective Seo Tae-Yoon from Seul comes to the country to help the investigations and is convinced that a serial-killer is killing the women. When a third woman is found dead in the same “modus-operandi”, the detectives find leads of the assassin.” Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (from imdb):
I went into it, suspecting it might be some intense, disturbing thriller that would keep me gripping the edge of my seat until my knuckles were white. It was intense. It was disturbing. But it was so subtly constructed, I didn’t even notice myself being sucked into the film.
With the combination of a powerful, melodic soundtrack, stellar performances from the actors, simple countryside setting, arbitrary comedic moments, character development and haunting, realistic cinematography, the film is flawlessly pieced together to portray a true story of Korea’s first publicized serial murder.
The scenes were beautiful; not the flamboyant, conspicuous artistic cinematography, but a perspective that made the ordinary landscape come alive with emotion and story. The rain, the rice fields, the close-ups, the chase scenes along winding alleys, the austere, old buildings, it was all so silently beautiful. The cinematography doesn’t scream for attention but if you paid a little attention to it, it’s so real, tangible and compelling.
There was a lot of detail put into the film, the behaviours of the characters and each scene seemed to play an important role in the film; each scene meant something. Nothing felt unnecessary. It felt like a long film at first, but every scene really kept me wondering what would happen next and it quickly picks up until I was at the edge of my seat wondering will the case ever be solved.
The cast was just great. It didn’t feel like there were any generic, recycled characters (or if there was, there was a spin) and the gradual reversal of characters was simply brilliant as the detectives become more desperate. The emotions were genuine and conveyed flawlessly; the actors were very believable and fit their role perfectly. Detective Park, the illogical man I wanted to hate in the beginning, Kwang-ho, the pitiable but lovable witness, Detective Seo, the calm almost-hero and Detective Cho, the impulsive man I wanted to shake some sense into… the cast was just so colourful and well played.
The film was definitely not as brutal and gory unlike some other Korean thrillers I’ve seen (namely Old Boy and I Saw the Devil). It really wasn’t as gruesome as I thought it would be (compared to many other Japanese or Korean movies that involved murder or death of some kind). This film was poignant, compelling and haunting. What surprises me most is that despite the visual and plot elements being fairly simple, it was able to garner a lot of intensity and emotion. Every element was executed perfectly; it left a very strong impression on me.
Highly recommended. Absolutely one of my favourite films ever. 9/10.