May 21, 2011

H: When Anti-Abortionists End Up in Jail, They Impregnate Their Ideas in Others

H, Lee Jong-hyuk's moody procedural drama about an imprisoned serial killer who remains unstoppable even behind bars, isn't particularly hard to figure out. You quickly discern that Detective Kang (Ji Jin-hee) is involved in the slew of murders at the movie's center and that the clues pointing to other suspects are just there to throw you — and his fashionably crossdressing female partner Detective Lee (Yum Jung-ah) — off the trail. Lee, like you, is not so easily fooled though. Unlike the lead police duo's main sidekick — fat, jolly and admittedly none-too-bright Detective Park (Sung ji-ru), she's smarter than your average man-in-blue; she's a circumspect investigator who gains more by thinking hard while coolly smoking a cigarette (that never shortens over time) than she would get by grilling her perp Shin-hyun (Cho Seung-woo) in an effort to find out what's driving him to slit the throats and cut off the ring-fingers of young, sometimes lesbian, pregnant women. She'll leave that task to Dr. Chu (Kim Sun-kyung), the enigmatic and questionably ethical psychiatrist who respects her client's privacy more than the safety of random, future victims.

From the looks of the turnout at the lecture she gives on the modus operandi of serial killers, she probably has a book in the works too so she doesn't want to taint her research just to solve a crime. What I still can't figure out is whether her book is on sociopaths or anti-abortionists. As message movies go, H is one of the oddest anti-choice movies on record. The killer is motivated by a deep-seated memory of being an abortion that didn't work. (He can still recall the feel of the cold forceps.) The victims are primarily unwed pregnant women who, in theory at least, don't want their babies. A single virgin dies, too, though that's explained away as "confused thinking" on the part of the killer but given said killer's psychic powers, a more logical answer is that he was able to pick up on a deep-seated desire to get laid and not have a baby no matter what. And who hasn't felt that? If this all strains credulity for you, then H definitely isn't your kind of movie. If you're fine with experiencing suspense primarily through a well-crafted soundtrack (with some excellent '70s-style noir tracks from composer Jo Sung-woo), than H will be alright for you.

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