Judge David Johnson would like to confess to something: He's got a signed poster of Richard Grieco hanging in his office cubicle.
He's a killer. He didn't get caught. And he's about to be famous.
A grizzled detective finally comes face to face with the vicious serial killer who's tormented him for years. But the circumstances are less than ideal.
Facts of the Case
Detective Choi (Jae-yeong Jeong) has been burdened with the incredible loss and gnawing guilt of the One Who Got Away. A mysterious killer responsible for the deaths of multiple women has left him broken and scarred. Years later, however, a young man comes forward claiming to be the killer. Taking advantage of South Korea's bizarre 15-year statute of limitations on murder, he publicly apologizes and unveils a blockbuster tell-all book that immediately vaults him into a macabre superstardom.
As Choi researches the man's claims, the victims' families plot their own revenge, making for a combustible situation that leads to exotic murder attempts, a raucous highway chase sequence and a final showdown that's as good as anything you'll see this year.
As I was watching—and immensely enjoying—Confession of Murder I had already formulated the caveat in my head: cool movie, but the statute of limitations plot device is way too hard to swallow. After some cursory webcrawling, I discovered that South Korea does in fact have a statute of limitations on murder, which was recently bumped from 15 years to 25 years. Yikes.
Caveat duly smashed, I can now offer a full-throated recommendation for Confession of Murder, a sometimes too-long but always interesting and more-than-sporadically thrilling crime film with big-time action movie sensibilities. It's offbeat, subversive and different, but don't let those adjectives scare you off; at the film's core is a heart that beats purely to entertain you.
Things start off with flair, as we see Choi and the killer engaged in a brutal chase through a rainy night. Flash-forward and Choi is a zombie of an investigator, carrying a vicious facial scar as a constant reminder of the killer's victory over him. Then Lee Du-Sok (Park Si-Hoo) shows up, smirking and with awesome hair and he unleashes his wild claim and all hell breaks loose. This is where the social commentary sneaks its way into the film. Despite his terrible crimes, he becomes and instant celebrity and his rock-star good looks catapult him into pop culture stardom. All of his appearances receive a mix of protestors and young women beside themselves with adoration over his enigmatic, dangerous bad boy look. This stuff flirts briefly with being overwrought, but director Jung Byung-Gil knows how to bring it back before it self-destructs as a too-goofy parody.
As it stands, the social tweaks remain at the fringe, giving the nuts and bolts of the film—the unraveling of Lee's identity and the gonzo action sequences that surround it—full berth. The action centerpiece of Confession of Murder is a fantastic car chase in the middle of the film, which blends CGI and live-action stunt work almost seamlessly. The beats are fantastic, if a tad physics-defying, and the camera-work captures the mayhem wonderfully. More than once I let out a "Geez!" in admiration for what they pulled off.
The pace slows down towards the end as the endgame plays out, which delivers some great surprises, but you won't be deprived of a big-ass finale. The very, very end? Still not sure how I feel about it. I'm pretty sure I like it. Yes. Yes, I do believe I liked it.
Solid Blu-ray from the ever-reliable Well Go USA: a slick 1.78:1 transfer joins a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track (Korean, with English subtitles) along with a brief behind-the-scenes featurette and cast interviews.
Always love discovering these overseas gems. Confession of Murder is original, exciting and sort of an odd duck. Recommended.
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Studio: Well Go USA
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