September 4, 2010

Into the White Night: Fashioning an Imperfect Murder

I don't know what to say about this one so how about director Park Shin-woo's mystery is filled with symbols galore: a police detective (Han Suk-kyu) who's slowly going blind, a killer (Go Soo) who wields scissors for art and murder, and a rape victim (Son Ye-jin) who desires nothing more than to launch a line of ugly clothing for men. Fighting interpretation, each lexicon of Into the White Night's cinematic semiotics loses significance as quickly as it gains meaning. The more you study it, the less the movie reveals. So put aside that imagery! You're better off sticking with who kills whom how, when and why as the action rewinds and fast forwards with all the stylishness of a ten-year-old operating a VCR. That same clunkiness trips up most of the characters who feel only half-developed. One of the more complex roles -- a tough private eye (Lee Min-jung) with a good sense of intuition -- gets knocked off too soon; a largely forgettable police chief (Jeong Jin) gets reincorporated too late. Stick around long enough and you'll witness a perverse scene in which the rape victim psychologically victimizes the sexually assaulted daughter of her husband-to-be but I'd rather spoil that plot twist for you here and save you the trouble.

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