Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: No Doubt (2010)

No Doubt (Review)
Park Soo-young/Kim Tae-woo/2010
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...really wants to place you in the shoes of every character."

After Choong-sik's (Kim Tae-woo) daughter mysteriously disappears from a small village, circumstantial evidence points to Yoo Se-jin (Lee Jung-jin), a child molester who recently moved into the village...

No Doubt begins quickly with tragedy striking within the first five minutes. The story follows the perspective of Choong-sik, who desperately wants to find his daughter at any costs, Yoo Se-jin and his family, who are immediately stigmatized in the village, and the investigators, who are quickly but incompetently racing to find the truth. The mystery surrounding the disappearance unravels through several flashbacks. Thankfully, the mystery keeps you guessing to the end, although it does purposely withhold some information. The ending is devastating – it's a hard-hitting ending that really aims at crushing you.

No Doubt is a difficult film to watch and judge. The actions of each side are more than often infuriating; however, these actions are also understandable. Would you suspect the child molester? Can you blame the villagers for trying to cast out a suspected kidnapper and convicted child molester? As a father, would you do anything to find your daughter? At the same time, I can't help but empathize with Yoo Se-jin and his family – now, obviously I can't feel for his past actions, but it's still difficult to watch his character deteriorate, especially since he's never presented as pure evil. Furthermore, the affects of Yoo Se-jin's actions, past and current, have also taken a toll on his mother and sister – and that's interesting to see. I also really liked its use of “innocent until proven guilty” – it's a strong and important theme for the film. The story isn't completely perfect, though; there were a couple moments were you may ask: “Why'd they do that?” or “Why didn't they do that?” Not a big problem, really, but is noticeable.

Kim Tae-woo delivers a powerful performance – it is melodramatic, but I can't say it's unbelievable – the reaction to losing a child is immeasurable. Lee Jung-jin's performance is also superb – he plays his character with great control and subtly; there's one scene that really took me by surprise as he spoke about his actions during an interrogation. The music is great, it helps create its ominous and emotional atmosphere. The pacing is fantastic – the film is really compact, cutting out the fat and only keeping relevant information. Park Soo-young delivers with his consistent and very precise direction – like I said, there's no filler in this film.

Overall, No Doubt is a character-based drama that doesn't villainous any of its characters, and I feel like this creates an incredibly effective and thought-provoking experience. It's a very bleak and depressing film, but it is also very honest about its subject. Furthermore, this is a film that can make you feel, it's a film that can make you contemplate and really wants to place you in the shoes of every character. A must-watch for fans of the genre.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, some brief nudity.

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