Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Blood and Ties: Her Father’s Voice
so-called “Hwaseong Murders” were South Korea’s first recorded serial killings,
but the statute of limitations expired before the murderer was uncovered. The case’s impact can still be discerned in
Korean cinema’s fascination with serial killers and the ticking prosecutorial
clock. Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder was transparently
based on the Hwaseong killings and it is easy to see its influence on Jung Byoung-gil's Confession of Murder. The notorious crimes also directly inspired
Kook Dong-seok’s Blood and Ties (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in Los Angeles.
Da-eun’s working class father Soon-man never had much, but he made sure she
never lacked for anything. Now a grown adult, she still lives at home with the ever
dedicated single parent. All her grad school friends adore dear old dad too,
but after watching a lurid new documentary, they cannot help noticing how similar
his voice sounds to that of a notorious child abductor. The unknown perpetrator was only recorded
during a brief ransom call, but he even uses one the senior Jung’s favorite
confused and suspicious, Jung’s daughter starts poking around. The sudden
appearance of Shim Yoon-young further amplifies her anxiety. He is obviously an unsavory character, but
seems to share some murky history with her father. As the media trumpets the imminent expiration
of the statute of limitations, Jung Da-eun struggles with her doubts and
B&T is a wicked high
concept thriller with ample opportunity for high tragedy, but it does not guard
its secret closely enough. The set-up is
downright sinister and the top-shelf primary cast maintains the intensity, but
viewers will always have a pretty good idea where it is all headed.
Ye-jin comes apart at the emotional seams quite convincingly as Da-eun, but it
is Kim Kap-soo who commands the film as her father. Somehow he projects steely malevolence and
pained sensitivity simultaneously, thereby providing both sides of his
character’s Rorschach. Without Kim’s
perfectly modulated performance, B&T would
not work to any extent. While the
supporting cast is mostly adequate, Lim Hyung-joon is also distinctly slimy as
the all kinds of bad news Shim.
Based on a story by Kook’s mentor, filmmaker
Park Jin-pyo, B&T taps into some
deep-seated anxieties, but it is driven by the work of Kim, Son, and Li. Recommended for thriller fans looking for a
blend of Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, Blood and Ties opens this Friday (11/1) at the CGV Theater in Los
Angeles and next Friday (11/8) at AMC Bay Terrace in Flushing, Queens.
Labels: Korean Cinema