Kong has definitely seen Apocalypse Now–to the point he pays homage–and Full Metal Jacket–to the point he doesn’t really pay homage, but kind of just lifts moments and shots.
I guess a horror movie set during the Vietnam War’s a good idea. I mean, there’s a lot of history, a lot of possibilities for ghosts–one of the better things about R-Point is its preference to infer, instead of explain, it makes it seem a lot more thoughtful than it turns out to be.
There’s some scary music, but it’s scary in the not-so-scary way. It’s intentionally creepy, with anything possibly creepy broadcast minutes before it comes to pass.
The ending is sort of like the music in that regard. It’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen at the beginning of the ten minute end sequence–there’s one “surprise,” but it’s not scary or particularly interesting so I’m not sure why it’s even in the picture–R-Point just moves along towards its inevitable conclusion. Actually, a couple things seemed possible early on, didn’t come to pass, and the film suffered for it. My expectations for its common ghost story elements were better than what Kong came up with.
Kong’s a rather good director, but he slowly loses grasp of his film, clearly narratively, but also filmically. Some of the shots look like terrible DV, it hurts the experience–with the weak script, Kong can’t afford the missteps.
The fine acting all around helps.
Written and directed by Kong Su-chang; director of photography, Seok Hyeong-jing; edited by Nam Na-yeong; music by Dal Pa-lan; produced by Choi Kang-hyeok; released by Cinema Service.
Starring Kam Woo-seong (Lieutenant Choi Tae-in), Son Byung-ho (Sergeant Jin Chang-rok), Oh Tae-kyung (Sergeant Jang Young-soo), Park Won-sang (Sergeant Cook), Lee Seon-gyun (Sergeant Park), Song Jin-ho (Sergeant Oh), Kim Byeong-cheol (Corporal Joh Byung-hoon), Jeong Kyeong-ho (Corporal Lee Jae-pil), Mun Yeong-dong (Corporal Byun) and Gi Ju-bong (Captain Park).
Posted in 2004, Action, Cinema Service, Color, Drama, English, Horror, Korean, South Korea, Thriller, War
Tagged Choi Kang-hyeok, Dal Pa-lan, Gi Ju-bong, Jeong Kyeong-ho, Kam Woo-seong, Kim Byeong-cheol, Kong Su-chang, Lee Seon-gyun, Mun Yeong-dong, Nam Na-yeong, Oh Tae-kyung, Park Won-sang, Seok Hyeong-jing, Son Byung-ho, Song Jin-ho
Paradise Murdered is particular kind of murder mystery… I’m having trouble coming up with a good adjective. I need something to take various elements into account: it’s uncanny, post-paced, engaging… it’s also laugh-out-loud funny. So I guess it’s madcap. Or zany. I’ve never seen a film so deftly toggle between being funny and being disturbing.
As a mystery, Paradise is basically an Agatha Christie mystery, just without a detective. There are seventeen people and one of them is a murderer (or isn’t). Red herrings and McGuffins come up from the second scene in the film and some of them are neon, making the dimmer ones’ digestion discrete. It’s all very masterfully put together, because the element of the uncanny, at times, gives it a bit of a Shining feel… only less embarrassing… and better. (There is one neat Shining reference I’m not sure I would have noticed if the fiancée hadn’t made the comparison a few minutes before).
The acting is all first rate, which is a bit of an achievement, since a) everyone’s a suspect and that situation usually lends to some real hamming and b) because there are at least two crazy characters and crazy characters are hard to pull off. Park Hae-il is the lead, I guess, but he’s that great kind of lead who fits in with the rest of the cast. It’s a combination of the direction, the script, and Park’s performance. I knew there was someone famous who I should have recognized but it wasn’t until afterwards I looked it up and realized it was Park. He integrates really well, an important factor in such a large cast.
The director, Kim Han-min, also wrote the film and it’s a surprise. His direction and attention to characters is entirely dispassionate. While his composition is adequate and he directs actors well, he can’t sustain any urgency for more than a few minutes. The times when Paradise actually gets disturbing or scary (though my fiancée wholly disagrees–she didn’t find it scary at all) obviously took a lot of work and Kim really has to pull all the stops (is that expression correct?) to get it to register.
But, like any Christie-esque mystery, the point is to engage while the film is running and Paradise Murdered does so… even introducing that adroit comedic element.
Written and directed by Kim Han-min; director of photography, Kim Yong-heung; edited by Shin Min-gyeong; music by Bang Jun-seok; produced by Choi Du-young; released by MK Pictures.
Starring Park Hae-il (Woo Seong), Park Sol-mi (Gwi-nam), Seong Ji-ru, Choi Ju-bong, Kim In-mun and Park Won-sang.
Posted in 2007, Color, Korean, MK Pictures, Mystery, South Korea, Thriller
Tagged Bang Jun-seok, Choi Du-young, Choi Ju-bong, Kim Han-min, Kim In-mun, Kim Yong-heung, Park Hae-il, Park Sol-mi, Park Won-sang, Seong Ji-ru, Shin Min-gyeong