Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 5th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 2012
Director: Byeong-gil Jeong
Writer: Byeong-gil Jeong
Cast: Won-yeong Choi, Won-Young Choi, Gwang Jang, Jae-yeong Jeong, Eun-ji Jo, Yeong-ae Kim , Young-Ae Kim, Ji-a Min, Shi-hoo Park
BluRay released: April 15th, 2014
Approximate running time: 120 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Korean, Dolby Digital Stereo Korean
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: After the statue of limitations expires on killings he committed, a murdered comes forward with a book detailing everyone of crimes. Is the killer truly sorry for they have done or does the killer have ulterior motives for writing the book that has now thrust into the spotlight?
There comes a time when genre reaches its apex because of countless imitators who try to ride the coattails of said genres biggest successes. In South Korea cinema that genre is the psychological thriller which first gained notoriety in North America because of Chan-wook Park’s tour de force Old Boy. Flash forward a little more than a decade later and the genre is still one of the most popular genres in South Korean cinema. And though the genre has in more recent years become derivative of its former successes, every now and then there is a film that gives this genre a much needed shock in the arm. Case in point Confession of Murder, Byeong-gil Jeong’s feature film debut, his only other film credit includes a documentary about stuntmen working in the Korean film industry titled Action Boys.
An opening sequence can make or break a film and in regards of Confession of Murder its opens in grand style with a jaw dropping action set piece which involves a detective chasing a murder suspect through various locations. This is not your run of the mill chase either as they pair crash through glass doors, scale rooftops and jump off said rooftops. And just when you think that one of them is about to give up they find their second steam. This opening moment culminates with the killer finally cornering the detective and though he spares his life he leaves him with a memento, a joker like scar.
After such an impressive high octane opening sequence one would almost expect the film rest on its action laurels, instead the film shifts more towards drama and establishing who everyone is and what their motivations are? It is also during this opening setup that the film’s villain a young man who has just written a book detailing the killings that he is now off the hook for due to statute of limitations.
For about the next hour the film explores the relationship between killer, his new found celebrity and the officer that was unable to put him behind bars. To add a further dimension to this ongoing game of cat and mouse between these two characters, the plot throws into the mix the family members of the victims who plot to kidnap the killer and serve up their own kind of justice. Of course the third act brings about this films most shocking revelation and to go on any further would spoil such a poetic finale.
The film’s stylish visuals are pitch perfect throughout, pacing is never an issue as each new revelation is given just the right amount of time to sink in and as mentioned before when it comes to the action set pieces this film delivers and then some. One of this films best asset’s is the way it examines how the news industry has morphed into an industry that is more interested in shocking viewers, then informing them with cold hard facts. A few of the more memorable moments include a scene involve snakes in pool and the aforementioned finale which turns everything that came before on its head.
This film features amazing performances from its two leads Jae-yeong Jeong (The Quite Family) in the role of Detective Choi and Shi-hoo Park in the role of the Lee Du-sok, the young man who work about book detailing his crimes. There is an incredible amount of intensity in every scene which these two actors appear together. And though both of their performances are neck in neck with each, the slight edge goes to Shi-hoo Park who gives such a charismatic performance for such a despicable character.
Just when you had thought that you had seen everything that this genre has to offer. Along comes a film like Confession of Murder, a first rate psychological thriller that reminds us why we love this genre so much.
Confession of Murder comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. There are no issues with DNR or compression and black and contrast levels look consistently great. Details always look crisp, colors and flesh tones look accurate throughout.
This release comes with two audio mixes, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Korean and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Korean. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear, balanced throughout and robust when it needs too. Of course the stronger of these two audio mixes is the DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix with does a superb job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 30 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles), a segment titled ‘Behind the scenes’ (4 minutes 59 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles) with comments from actors Jae-yeong Jeong and Shi-hoo Park and a interview with Jae-yeong Jeong (3 minutes 21 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles). Also included with this release are trailer for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall Confession of Murder gets a solid audio / video presentation from Well Go USA, highly recommended.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.