As one possessing a weak heart, the first fifteen minutes seriously had me contemplating walking out of the auditorium. Graphic presentations of blood, psychotic mentalities, twisted murder tactics - the 2-hour experience was definitely not devoid of all of these gory, gruesome details.
From what started out as the depiction of the day-to-day activities of a former Taekwondo athlete and current PC game addict, the story quickly progressed to a truly unsettling imprisonment of an innocent citizen.
This isn't the first time I've sat through a piece of work that commences with the main character being wrongly accused and framed for a crime. And amusingly enough, Lee Jong Suk happened to play the lead in both of the aforementioned small screen productions: Pinocchio introduced an environment of bullying and ridicule resulting from a false accusation and sneaky media play; W founded an indignant former athlete to be a murdere. Both scenarios progressed with the main character setting out on a mission to unveil the truth behind these deaths and, more importantly, to clear the fugitive title from their names.
Kwon Yoo (Ji Chang Wook) took upon a similar role, except that the crime wasn't inflicted on family members, but on an unnamed minor.
I had high expectations for this silver screen creation: Ji Chang Wook is the king of action films, while Shim Eun Kyung is a powerful and wonderfully diverse actress capable of impressing crowds in both serious movies and rom-com dramas.
Frankly, after sitting through the full duration of the film, I can't proclaim it would be something I would watch over and over again.
- Court trials generally do not take place immediately. I find it impossible to believe that a suspect was found guilty within the brief time frame depicted, and further imprisoned in isolation.
- The theme of rape was something that left behind a particularly bitter taste in my mouth. It was, in my opinion, completely unnecessary in terms of adding severity to the crime. Furthermore, it promoted immensely graphic images in the viewers' minds.
- The rotting tree reference stated at the beginning and conclusion of the movie seemed irrelevant. Perhaps I am merely incapable of sensing the implicit meaning behind the phrase, but the remaining components of the story did not exactly lend cohesiveness either. It was implemented awkwardly, as if to commence and end on a similar note, but with no vaguely related information
- As mentioned previously, Shim Eun Kyung is an extremely talented actress capable of taking a multitude of roles. Mr. Hairy/Yeo-Wool was a woman of few words, mysterious communication preferences, extraordinary hacking and analytical skills, and limited expressions. It was specifically because of this that there was limited potential for adopting various styles and levels of expressions. For clarification, I am by no means suggesting that a rookie actress should have taken on this role. I am simply stating my complaint towards the lack of 發揮機會.
- While Kwon Yoo's lengthy imprisonment was described to every last painful detail to the audience, little was revealed about the villain puppet master'simprisonment duration, parole details, etc. The final sentence wasn't even glazed over. Additionally, I would have found more joy in witnessing the villain endure an equally grueling experience, if not suffer to an even greater extent for the lives he removed, the pain he inflicted on society.
- The plot never mentioned the cause of death for Kwon Yoo's mother. While Mr. Puppet Master claimed that she died from depression, there is no actual proof that he did not indirectly remove her from the picture to discourage Kwon Yoo from regaining strength and uncovering the truth.
- Moreover, Min lawyer's sleazy assistant's sudden collapse on the desk and departure weren't explained in the slightest. It could be likely that there is a far more superior looking to wreak havoc by luring greedy mortals with the idea of unlimited power. Of course, this explanation could have been eliminated to evoke the imaginative powers of the audience.
It is also important to note the power of the following in Korean society:
- Media potrayal
- Advanced technology and "smart" devices
- The dangers of placing all information on the grid
This isn't family-friendly, nor would it be something I would take pleasure in watching again and again. The intensity of it all is overbearing, and the scenes much too graphic for my liking. Once is more than enough for me. Any more would be to appreciate their camera work and thrill of the car chases.