Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Confession of Murder (2012)

Confession of Murder (aka I Am The Murderer) (Review)
Jeong Byeong-gil/Jung Jae-young/2012
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime 

"...a masterfully crafted thriller."

Two years after the statute of limitations expire, Lee Doo-seok (Park Si-hoo) releases a book confessing to several murders, and detective Choi Hyeong-goo (Jung Jae-young) jumps back into the case...

Confession of Murder is a case of the "less you, the better." The story begins Hyeong-goo chasing a suspected murderer, unfortunately failing to capture the suspect. The film briefly flashes forward 15 years to 2005, then again two years into 2007. From here Doo-seok emerges taking credit for the murders and becoming and instant celebrity thanks to his manipulation of the media and gullible, often ignorant public. Aside from following Hyeong-goo and Doo-seok, the film also follows the family of the victims and their quest for vengeance. This is as far as I go, though, as the second half of the film is filled with unexpected twists and turns. The ending is vicious -- like the traditional Korean thriller, it packs plenty of surprises in its bleak but hopeful finale.

Confession of Murder is an adrenaline-filled thriller. In fact, the film begins with a suspenseful chase through claustrophobic alleyways and rooftops -- in this case, although I loved the creative direction and camerawork, the scene can be a bit nauseating due to the shaking. The thrills continue consistently through the film, as well. The car chase scene involving two pedestrian vehicles and an ambulance is a instant classic; however, the blatant use of green screen is a bit distracting in this case. As for its exemplary thrills, it comes full circle for its epic ending involving a foot chase, a car chase, and a beating. There are little things that bring the film down a bit, like the previously mentioned shaky-cam and the green screen, but it's otherwise a masterfully crafted thriller.

As for the story, it oozes with genuine mystery and creativity. I was hooked from beginning to end, keeping up with every twist and turn it threw at me; really, my eyes were glued on the screen for its entire runtime. I loved every thrill, and I also loved engaging and often suspenseful conversation between the characters; and, these characters are also interesting in their own regard. The commentary regarding the mainstream media is very blatant and could've used some subtly, but it's honest; we've seen plenty of examples of the media turning monsters into celebrities, I recognize it here in the United States and applaud the filmmakers for calling them out; I also like how it portrayed some of the general public, like the young women idolizing the monster, it's just honest. Furthermore, the film offers some great humor, as well, keeping the pace and audience on its feet.

The role doesn't demand much for the entire performance, but, by the end, Park Si-hoo impressed with his versatile acting. Jung Jae-young is very charismatic; he's an infuriating character because his charisma makes him charming and likable but his actions make him evil -- a true psychopath. There are more superb performances, but I'll leave it mum to avoid spoilers. The cinematography is great, and the camerawork is engaging and creative; although the first chase scene can be nauseating, it was shot masterfully. The special effects look out of place; fortunately, there only used to a noticeable point in two sequences. Director Jeong Byeong-gil crafts a fantastic thrill-ride, and a very interesting, contemplative, and conversational story; I look forward to anything in Byeong-gil's future.

Overall, Confession of Murder is a superb thriller. It's a ferociously paced, masterfully-crafted, and insanely entertaining thriller. The little things bring it down from perfection, but it isn't a film to miss, regardless.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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