Confession of Murder Blu-ray Review
Written and directed by Jeong Byeong-gil
2012, Region A, 119 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on April 15th, 2014
Jung Jae-young as Det. Choi Hyeong-goo
Park Si-hoo as Lee Du-sok
Jo Eun-ji as Gang-Sook
Jang Gwang as Bureau chief
Choi Won-young as Jung Tae-Suk
Kim Young-ae as Han Ji-soo
With the release of his new book I am the Killer, Lee Du-sok offers a full confession as the man responsible for the unsolved murders of ten women. The revelations coincide with the expiration of the 15-year statute of limitations for these crimes. Detective Choi Hyeong-goo regrets having never apprehended this psychopath and is pushed to his limits as he is forced to watch the scumbag become an overnight celebrity. The media cannot get enough of this handsome devil as he embarks on a book signing tour. Frequent stops are made in order for Lee to offer his public apologies to the families of his victims and to detective Choi as well. Since all of these events are timed to occur when the cameras are rolling, those affected by the crimes are reluctant to accept these acts as little more than publicity stunts.
Lee becomes the target of both kidnapping and assassination attempts, and soon Choi finds himself in the awkward position of protecting the man he most despises. A series of televised debates between cop and author yield accusations that the author is covering up for someone else, possibly an accomplice. When a mysterious figure calling himself “J” interrupts the program, what follows is an elaborate series of shocking reversals and plot twists that are better left unspoiled. Suffice it to say, the action ramps up to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.
Confession of Murder is an entertaining film that stacks one energetic set piece after another and revels in its surprises that will keep audiences captivated for the duration. These sharp turns are also the movie's biggest weakness since they limit any repeat viewing and because some are unapologetically ludicrous. Once the final revelations are in place, it is difficult to root for the heroes since, in hindsight, they are criminally negligent in their behavior for the first half of the picture. Writer/director Jeong Byeong-gil makes a strong debut feature here, but appears more intent on wowing the viewer than telling a solid story.
There is no shortage of action, as we meet our central characters in the middle of a vicious brawl and follow them on a lengthy chase through the back alleys of the city. The plot then jumps forward fifteen years to the big announcement from Lee, which leads to an impressive sequence involving a dynamic suicide. All of this content occurs before the opening title card! The film does take time out to develop its characters and both Jung Jae-young (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) as Det. Choi Hyeong-goo and newcomer Park Si-hoo as Lee Du-sok own every scene they are in. Supporting players are each given their time to shine and give solid performances across the board.
Cinematographer Gi-Tae Kim keeps things moving with an abundance of handheld camera work that follows the action even when crashing through windows. Viewers are not in any danger of getting lost in the mayhem, as editor Na-young Nam does a fine job maintaining a clear throughline with the content even as it frequently hurtles along at the speed of a bullet. Fans of Korean cinema will recognize many elements and long-running themes on display here, but the presentation keeps things lively. I look forward to Byeong-gil's next directorial effort since he clearly has a strong vision and can tell a fun story, but maybe someone else can take a crack at the screenplay.
Video and Audio:
Confession of Murder receives an impressive video transfer presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are quite strong and black levels are solid with plenty of small object detail.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix is surprisingly aggressive with a real workout given to the surround speakers, and not just during the numerous action set-pieces. The original stereo mix is presented in a 2.0 Dolby Digital track that I'm sure is fine, but why bother? The film is presented in the original Korean language with English subtitles provided.
A brief making-of (5 minutes) piece offers soundbites from the director and lead actors with on-set production footage intercut for a glimpse behind the scenes.
A collection of cast interviews (7 minutes) provides traditionally enthusiastic comments but offers little insight.
Trailers for films including Confession of Murder, The Suspect and other Well Go USA releases complete the special features.