Sales: Finecut, Seoul ([email protected])


Premiere: Cannes Film Festival (Critics' Week), 14 May 2010. Theatrical release: South Korea, 2 Sep 2010.

Presented by Boston Investments (SK), in association with Kofic. Produced by Filma Pictures (SK), in association with Tori Pictures (SK). Executive producers: Harry Kim, Han Man-taek, Jeong Hyeon. Producer: Park Gu-yeong.

Script: Choi Gwan-yeong. Photography: Kim Gi-tae. Editing: Kim Mi-ju. Music: Kim Tae-seong. Production design: Shim Jeom-hui. Sound: Song Jin-hyeok.

Cast: Seo Yeong-hui (Kim Bok-nam), Ji Seong-won (Hae-won), Baek Su-ryeon (Dong-ho's granny), Park Jeong-hak (Man-jong), Bae Seong-u (Cheol-jong), Oh Yong (Deuk-soo), Lee Ji-eun (Kim Yeon-hui), Kim Gyeong-ae (Pa-ju's granny), Son Yeong-sun (Sun-yi's granny), Lee Myeong-ja (Gae-tong's granny), Yu Sun-cheol (Old man with Alzheimer's), Jo Deok-jae (Police officer Seo), Chae Shi-hyeon (Mi-ran), Tak Seong-eun (Ji-su), Hong Seung-jin (Yankee's), Hwang Min-ho (Dodger's), Hong Jae-seong (Officer Jang), Jeong Gi-seob (Officer Choi), An Jang-hun (Mr. Jang), Myeong Ro-jin (bank manager), Kim Gyeong-ran (old lady at bank), Jae Min (victim), Park Jeong-sun (victim's father), Seong Won-yong (supervisor), Han Dong-hak (superintendant), Dennis (Westerner), Yuk Sae-jin, Shim Seung-hyeon (Mudo policemen), Kim Yong, Yu Seung-oh (Seoul policemen), Na Jong-ho (old villager), Hang Hae-ji (old villager's daughter), Yu Ae-jin (young Bok-nam), Chun Yeong-min (young Hae-won), Park Jong-bin (young Man-jong), Lee Da-un (young Cheol-jong), Park Seung-a (young Deok-su), Kim Wu-seok (young Seo), Seo Seung-hwa, Kim Hyeon-su (bankers), Lee Gang-hui (tearoom waitress), An Su-yeon (restaurant waitress), Kim Wu-geun (coupon boy).


Bedevilled 김복남 살인사건의 전말

South Korea
Slasher drama
2009, colour, 2.35:1, 116 mins

Directed by Jang Cheol-su (장철수)


By Derek Elley

Sat, 15 May 2010, 13:53 PM (HKT)

Gory genre item takes too long to get to the money shots. Beyond fantasy festivals, some ancillary potential if shortened.


Seoul, present day. Thirtyish bank employee Hae-won (Ji Seong-won), strung out after being threatened as a witness to an attempted murder, is forced by her boss to take a break after freaking out at work. She goes to the island of Mudo, where her grandparents once lived, and stays at the simple home of Kim Bok-nam (Seo Yeong-hui), with whom she had a close friendship when both were in their teens but whose constant letters she's since ignored. Life on the backward, undeveloped island is hard, and Bok-nam is treated as little more than a slave by her physically abusive husband, Man-jong (Park Jeong-hak), his brother Cheol-jong (Bae Seong-u) and the local old women. All of Bok-nam's love is reserved for her young daughter Yeon-hui (Lee Ji-eun), with whom she tries to escape from the small, claustrophobic island - with or without the help of smartly dressed city girl Hae-won.


Despite a terrific performance by SEO Yeong-hui 서영희 | 徐令姬 — playing another abused victim after her kidnapped prostitute in The Chaser 추격자 (2008)Bedevilled 김복남 살인사건의 전말 (2009) is actually made of up very familiar elements from South Korean cinema's thematic vault: a Seoul yuppie stranded among brutish rural types, bucket loads of nasty physical abuse, flashbacks to happier days of youth, and deeply buried traumas that resurface in violence. Given this not-so-special content, the film settles down (after a 10-minute introduction) into one long wait for the script to pull the pin on the main character's bottled-up anger — which comes after more than an hour of character development that could easily be cut by a third.

Seo's playing of the physically plucky, ever-optimistic Bok-nam keeps the film perfectly watchable during this long lead-up, but it makes her co-lead JI Seong-won 지성원 seem colourless when the drama should really be about their odd-couple friendship in an isolated, backward community. This is partly a weakness of the script, which loses interest in Hae-won's psychology after a strong start as an uptight Seoul yuppie, and also never gets a proper handle on their teenage attraction to each other. But it's also partly due to TV drama actress Ji's performance, which is cool and unengaging as the big-city yuppie. Added to which, the consistent depth of Seo's performance — visible especially in scenes between mother and daughter, but also with a visiting hooker, nicely played by CHAE Shi-hyeon 채시현 — ironically lessens the impact of her final rampage, as up to that time she's looked capable of easily going a few rounds with her neanderthal husband.

Despite these basic flaws, which could be lessened by a ruthless re-edit, former KIM Ki-duk 김기덕 | 金基德 a.d. JANG Cheol-soo 장철수 | 張哲秀 acquits himself well on the technical side in his first feature. Realistically handsome widescreen camerawork by KIM Gi-tae 김기태 (Beautiful 아름답다 (2007), Rough Cut 영화는 영화다 (2008)) makes the most of the island's natural setting without over-prettifying it, and the slaughter in the final half-hour is staged well enough in a generic way, with Bok-nam ("I looked at the sun for a long time, and it spoke to me") dispatching her enemies with an almost casual air.

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