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Sunday, November 16, 2014

NAE-GA SAL-IN-BEOM-I-DA / CONFESSION OF MURDER (2012)

Korean writer/director Byeong-gil Jeong debuts on this tricked-up serial killer pic that keeps slipping into Jackie Chan action/comedy territory, especially in a couple of exciting, if OTT, car chase set-pieces. What reaction is Jeong going for? Or is the disconnect simply cultural lacunae? After a furious prologue (murder, wounded cop, rainy streets, heavy chase action, the works), the film jumps ahead 15 years, when the Statute of Limitations allows the world’s cutest serial killer to publish his memoirs with impunity. The press & public love the guy (lots of squealing teenage girls); only the original cop on the case and relatives of the dead still call for justice. But how? And what if the book is a fraud? It’s at this point that everyone starts taking the law into their own hands and Jeong starts switching gears, jumping from bloody torture to wacky martial arts comedy tropes, with dollops of brooding attitude and a bit of mystery to the affair that might fool an eight-yr-old movie novice who wasn’t paying attention. Still, quite a slick package for a directorial newbie, with good perfs and sexy swagger around the edges even when the story loses focus. Let’s hope he uses a co-writer on his next project.

DOUBLE-BILL: For a Korean serial killer film that mixes tones and still packs a wallop, try MEMORIES OF MURDER/’03, an early work from the phenomenal Joon-ho Bong.

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