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the director -- named Jang Hyun-seong(22)

Time:2018-03-08 00:04Shoes websites Click:

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Unfortunately, even a superbly gifted chef like Jang could not keep all these ingredients stewing for two hours without spoiling the taste. Around the start of the final third of the movie, Murder begins to lose its bearing. The set-up of a reality TV show shooting the murder investigation live loses its satirical edge when a shaman (and her cute little-girl assistant) is invited to the studio and attempts to contact the spirit of the dead woman (Haven't we seen this already in One Missed Call-- and frankly done much better?). And Cha Seung-won's Portrait of Jenny-like obsession with the murder victim goes nowhere: the ending that should have packed a wallop is instead merely quaint, in comparison to the giddy flow of energy that carried the viewers through the film's first half.

The biggest reason to see this film -- and it certainly stands up to repeated viewings, despite its lame conclusion -- is the array of amazing performances culled from its huge cast. Jang's approach is almost precariously democratic: he provides a space for an aria-like showcase to nearly every single supporting player, right down (literally) to a gas station attendant. For the most part, this daring strategy works beautifully: Murder, Take One is a veritable glutton's delight for connoisseurs of good acting. Just a few random highlights include: the super-veteran Shin Ku as the police chief "explaining" the complexity of the concept of murder to the thoroughly befuddled prosecuting attorney played by : a verbal duel between theater actress Jang Young-nam playing a steel-pike-wrapped-in-velvet law-woman and the insolent suspect Park Jung-ah (the lead singer from the rock group Jewelry): Hwang Jeong-min (Sun-yi from Save the Green Planet) as a blind masseur casually dropping an important clue in Cha's lap.

Unequivocally stunning is an early polygraph interrogation scene between Cha and in the role of the major suspect. This is possibly the most creative use of the polygraph machine as a prop I have ever seen in a movie. Shin's performance in this sequence is absolutely riveting, although his character arc has a rather disappointing resolution. (I would have loved to see Cha and Shin go the route of Sean Connery and Ian Carmichael in Sidney Lumet's The Offence)

And did I mention that the movie is drop-dead funny? It has probably the wittiest and drollest dialogue among all Korean films made in 2005. Regrettably, my prognosis is that about 30% of the film's verbal comedy is simply untranslatable. To cite one example, , a regular in Jang Jin production, makes a cameo appearance here as a doltish gangster named Kkureogi. The English subtitles on the DVD render it as "Bully," but it's not quite. Kkureogi is someone who doesn't know when to stop: Simsool-kkureogi, thus, is a grouch or an ass, and jam-kkureogi is a sleepyhead. But knowing a more accurate meaning of the word does not necessarily help a non-Korean appreciate why calling a burly gangster Kkureogi is so darn funny. This issue remains a challenge for fans of Jang Jin, who are hoping that more non-Koreans will come to appreciate his quirky output.

In the final analysis, Murder, Take One is a worthy addition to Jang's filmography, warts and all. The fact that it is ultimately less than sum of its parts, and not as sneakily insightful as Someone Special or as spectacularly well-constructed as Dongmakgol, does not make it any less fascinating.      ()


    The Wig

Su-hyeon (Chae Min-seo) suffers from leukemia. Her elder sister Ji-hyeon (Yu Seon), a glass sculptor who has lost her voice due to a strange accident, presents her with a gift to enhance her self-image and perhaps boost her hopes for the future: a wig. Su-hyeon indeed finds her health and outlook in life improving, after donning the wig. However, her personality seems to go through a subtle transformation as well, especially in her attitude toward Ji-hyeon's fiance Ki-seok (Moon Soo). When her friend who "borrows" the wig commits suicide under horrible circumstances, Ji-hyeon becomes convinced that the wig is cursed.

The Wig

For the first two-thirds of its running time, The Wig is pretty engaging. Director Won Sin-yeon, who made the award-winning short Bread and Milk, takes time in setting up the relationship between the sisters and building up the atmosphere of dread and despair. (Some requisite shock scenes such as a bathroom suicide were probably added for obligatory reasons, as they are frankly the least interesting parts of the film) The cursed wig, which sounds like a supremely silly premise for a horror film (and an excuse to indulge in "long black hair ghosts" popping up everywhere), is actually deployed quite effectively. The mere sight of the clump of shiny, flowing black hair silently falling to the floor, or appearing to wave its strands in mid-air as if posing for a camera, is creepy enough without any sledgehammer sound effects. The film is also helped by sincere but restrained performances from the two female leads. Chae Min-seo, rather unremarkable in macho epics The Champion and Japan-made Aegis, is quite good as a young leukemia patient facing the prospect of death and unwilling to let go the newfound vitality the wig has granted her. Yu Seon, a TV actress with only a small role in The Uninvited to her feature credit, is given the more difficult role of the mute older sister. She pulls it off in fine form, perhaps lack of vocalization an asset in this case, as was so for Holly Hunter in The Piano.

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