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Review: 'Confession of Murder' is a stylish, strange South Korean crime thriller

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'Confession of Murder'

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The South Korean thriller “Confession of Murder” comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD Tuesday. The film continues the recent tradition of well-crafted, exciting South Korean genre fare. Writer/Director Jung Byung-gil crafts a fascinating tale, with the crime procedural genre bumping up against caustic satire, slapstick and other elements to create a unique and engaging film.

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Detective Choi (Jung Jae-Young) is a cop who still hasn’t gotten over failing to catch a vicious serial killer years ago. After the statute of limitations runs out, Lee Dook-Sun (Park See-Hoon), a dashing young man who was apparently somehow old enough to commit murders 17 years earlier. (He looks like he could be in a boy band. Hannibal Bieber.) Dook-Sun releases a book hilariously titled I Am A Murderer, and soon Detective Choi and the families of Dook-Sun’s victims are after him.

Cartoonish humor bumps up alongside moments of dark pathos, a common trait of South Korean cinema. For example, the film’s suspenseful, stylishly shot dramatic opening is followed a couple of minutes later by a fart joke. However, Byung-Gil’s filmmaking is so confident that the tonal shifts are never too jarring. The visuals are perfectly suited for Blu-Ray, with a dynamic vibrancy perfectly suited for this over-the-top pulp tale.

Byung-gil also throws jabs at current media and the cult of celebrity, with the entire South Korean press corps coming across as clueless buffoons. Byung-gil spends several long sequences showing modern media at its worst, with the film’s climax taking place on live television. This isn’t a film loaded with subtlety.

The film features a couple of fun car chases (somewhat marred by dodgy CGI), a twisting, turning, occasionally ludicrous plot constantly surprises, and the suspense doesn’t let up until the credits roll.

The biggest flaw of the film is the weird misogyny that permeates throughout, with male characters casually insulting women while each female character seems either incompetent or corrupt, save for one of the vengeance-seeking family members who is an expert crossbow archer and assassin. (This movie is weird.)

Aside from that annoying aspect, “Confession of Murder” is an excellent entry to mainstream South Korean cinema, entertaining, thrilling, funny and downright odd in equal measure. To learn more about the film, click on the trailer above. For the latest Blu-Ray news and reviews, subscribe to the Blu-Ray Examiner today.

A/V Quality

Byung-Gil's sharp visual sense comes through crisply and clearly on DVD. The audio track is unexceptional, but fine.

Extras

Bonus Materials Include a Behind-the-Scenes Featurette and Interviews with the Cast and Crew.

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