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'Confession of Murder' review: Cataclysmically appealing

Confession of Murder


"Confession of Murder" is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA.

Jung Jae-young and Park Si-hoo in "Confession of Murder."
Jung Jae-young and Park Si-hoo in "Confession of Murder." Photo courtesy of Well Go USA, used with permission.
The official Blu-ray cover for "Confession of Murder."
The official Blu-ray cover for "Confession of Murder."Photo courtesy of Well Go USA, used with permission.

Police Lieutenant Choi Hyung-gu (Jung Jae-young) tried desperately to capture a serial killer who targeted women from 1986 to 1990, but the brawl and inevitable foot chase ended with Choi lying bloody in a corridor and the killer's escape. 15 years later, Choi finds himself scarred and drinking himself to death while haunted by his failure. To make matters worse, a man named Lee Doo-suk (Park Si-hoo) releases a book entitled "I Am the Murderer" which not only claims that Lee was the uncaptured murderer from so many years ago but lists every gruesome detail about all of the murders.

With a 15-year statute of limitations in full effect, Lee is clearly untouchable by the law. But with every repent for his sins seeming like a publicity stunt to fuel his book sales, Choi isn't willing to give up so easily. Could Lee really be the killer or is the killer still out there anticipating proper credit for his work?

"Confession of Murder" has a fantastically gripping opening. We see Choi sitting at a restaurant while it pours down rain as he remembers his pursuit of the killer. The camera does some pretty incredible stuff perspective-wise during this foot chase. Like the camera work in "The Raid 2," the camera seems to contort itself to allow full use of dynamic angles while following these two characters. The camera slides underneath a car at one point and even seems to smash through a window as the killer jumps out of one to escape the clutches of a determined Lieutenant Choi.

But the excellent beginning only strengthens the South Korean action thriller's slow but steady building decline. The main storyline of the film is riveting, but there's this entire secondary storyline that nearly ruins everything the film has going for it. Comedy and goofy behavior has no place in a film like this, but writer/director Jung Byung-gil forcefully stuffs as much unwanted absurdity as he can into the film.

A group of the killer's victim's relatives and loved ones gather and pursue a fresh-out-of-prison private investigator to gain revenge on Lee Doo-suk, but unfortunately this ragtag faction of over trained nincompoops only muck up Detective Choi's investigation. Look no further than the unrealistic car chase in the middle of the film which features balancing on the roofs and hoods of multiple cars and hospital gurneys all while barreling down a highway. The blatant green screen shots are beyond preposterous as are the ludicrous actions of a certain knife wielding private dick.

"Confession of Murder" has a captivating primary storyline with superb performances from the short-tempered Jung Jae-young and the overconfident Park Si-hoo. However the film seems to run about 30-40 minutes too long while the side plot is overly goofy when it has no reason to be. With dark, compelling components similar to that of "The Chaser" and "Memories of Murder," "Confession of Murder" feels like a great film wrapped inside of a dreadful one that suffers from disastrous editing and shoddy writing.