December 13, 2012

Parallel Life: Tracking Down Your Own Killer

Recently appointed Supreme Court Justice Kim Seok-hyeon (Ji Jin-hee) has a real dilemma on his hands. He's living a life that's the mirror image of one that took place 30 years ago and which ended in a series of murders. If he has any doubts, soon enough, Kim's slutty wife (Yoon Sae-ah) will be dead (just like his alter ego's). Now it's just a matter of time before he and his child (Park Sa-rang) are six feet under as well. What can he do? He can visit the institutionalized professor (Oh Hyeon-kyeong) who wrote the definitive text on parallel lives but what will he gain? Further proof that he's going to die! He can finally listen to the nice lady reporter (Oh Ji-eun) who feeds his growing obsession that his personal history is repeating itself much in the same way that John F. Kennedy's life did Abraham Lincoln's. Same birthday, same month and date of something else important... All these matches can't be coincidental. So what does the lady reporter get? An early grave. Then again she must have seen that one coming.

Ultimately, that's the problem with director Kweon Ho-young's Parallel Life. You don't really have a sense of suspense because you never really doubt that Kim's going to die or that the parallel theory is anything but real. Even with the potential conspiracies and salacious rumors floating around about unethical judges, dirty cops and adulterous affairs, Parallel Life isn't a thriller because you're never on the edge of your seat. Maybe it's more like a muted scifi, a film that posits an alternate reality that may or may not be this one, and which sees the little details -- like exactly how someone dies, even a second time -- as the only stuff that matters. But for that to be true, you'd really have to like the characters, and while I did have a soft spot for Uncle Jung (Park Byeong-eun), I wasn't that into Prosecutor Lee (Lee Jong-hyeok) or any of the side stories (which according to the professor's mad scribblings of math formulas on the cement wall of the interrogation room have already happened 30 years ago, too).

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea what the ending of this film meant.
    Basically had all the flaws mentioned.