August 10, 2013

Azooma: Momma's Got a Bite That's Worse Than Her Bark

Theoretically, I could've missed a very short-but-telling scene while glancing over at the snoring old woman sitting next to me in the theater. That unglimpsed moment in Azooma would explain how the title character (played by Jang Young-nam) knows for sure who her daughter's rapist is. Which isn't to say there aren't some very leading indicators. Like a man (Hwang Taekwang) who repeatedly drives down the street outside her daughter's school and says, "Hey, little girl. Want a ride?" Like a man, the same man no less, with highly sexualized artwork of characters from children's fables on his apartment walls. But isn't that all too circumstantial? Would any of it hold it up in a court of law? Probably not. From what I can tell though, Azooma simply trusts the very vivid dreams she has of her daughter's abduction and assumes that the rapist is supporting her theory by wearing the same baseball cap, the same khaki pants and the same gray pullover that he's wearing in her dreams. Works for me!

Naturally, the police are no help. The detective (Ma Dong-seok) assigned to the case is always procrastinating even after Azooma has tracked down the pedophile herself. Her ex-husband (Bae Seong-woo) doesn't want to be seen with his former wife, regardless of what's happened to their kid. Her daughter (Lee Jae-hee) at most does a few drawings that clue her in to where the pervert lives. Since no one's going to help her get justice, Azooma takes matters into her own hands and exacts an extreme revenge. To give you a clue as to how extreme, let's just say that before Azooma was an inefficient insurance saleswoman, she was a clumsy dental hygienist and she still has keys to the dentist's office and access to all his tools. It's also worth noting that the violence becomes incredibly graphic at this point. In his directorial debut, Lee Ji-seung doesn't shy away from showing a drill carving a way at a molar to the point of blood or the equally bloody remains of a forced extraction. By that point, the old lady sitting next to me had left the theater. Theoretically, she had to go to the bathroom.

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