November 3, 2007

A Tale of Two Sisters: Lights! Camera! Inaction!

As far as symbolist family sagas involving ghostly multiple personalities go, I suppose A Tale of Two Sisters is one of the less hermetic ones. By the end of this atmospheric mystery (which is another way of saying that it's not that suspenseful), everything except for the creepy critters has pretty much been explained. Frankly, I would have preferred a bit more head scratching. I like the lizard creatures, the child crawling out of the woman's crotch, and the big bloody bag. Who cares what's in it? That's scary! But most of the time Kim Ji-woon's film has you watching anticipatory tableaus cheapened by the nagging question is this happening in the stepmom's head, the daughter's head, or the little sister's head. Why none of the characters chose to bash in the father's head may be the greatest mystery of all. Though he's somewhat peripheral to the action, his very coolness is so inappropriate that I kept hoping he'd turn out to be a modern version of Ted Bundy or Dr. Frankenstein. No such luck. Lots of nice haircuts shot so the face is somewhat obscured like in The Ring. But not nearly as riveting.

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