Movie Overview: Confession of A Murderer

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I honestly thought that I had given up Park Shi-hoo after his scandal.

DISCLAIMER (I think I have one of these on every other post now…):
I’m not passing any judgment on whether Park Shi-hoo is guilty of the crimes that he has been charged with. I am only judging Park Shi-hoo on what he has admitted himself to doing and also what has been shown as true through video evidence. Based on that alone, Park Shi-hoo has had a serious mental lapse in judgement, and I really can’t look at him the same way. I don’t expect actors to be perfect people, but I don’t want them to be squalid either. That said, how I feel shouldn’t stop anyone else from watching him and since he’s technically still “not guilty,” I don’t think his career is entirely kaput.

…However, I had been wanting to watch the movie Confession of A Murderer for a while now because the premise sounded interesting. It was pretty ironic though that this was the Park Shi-hoo release I was curious about watching, because his role is of a rapist/serial killer that confessed to all of his crimes. So I decided to make an exception to my self-imposed Park Shi-hoo ban and watch a sleazebag be a sleazebag. The movie wasn’t bad, so for all of you curious folk that never watched the movie, here’s an overview with as few spoilers as possible.

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Summary/Overview:

Lieutenant Choi Hyeong-goo (Jung Jae-young) is a police detective who was in charge of an unsolved serial killing case about 17 years before the start of this film. It is a case that has been a very painful failure for him professionally and more importantly, personally. This serial killer was responsible for the deaths of ten different women, and the kidnapping, likely rape, and murder of Choi’s own fiancée (the body was never found). It’s not too surprising then that Choi is furious about the fact that he has been unable to catch the perpetrator, and it’s even less surprising that Choi is even angrier about it at the time the statue of limitations passes. It would seem like there could be no way to add anymore salt to Lieutenant Choi’s wounds, but indeed there is. Two years after the 15 year statue of limitations had been passed, the alleged killer steps forward to confess his crimes by releasing what becomes a best selling novel. The criminal, Lee Doo-seok (Park Shi-hoo) becomes extremely popular, not just for the book, but for his ridiculously good looks, and he even gains a huge following (mostly for the ridiculously good looks). The victims’s families however, are not pleased by the developments, and some even seek to kill him in rather weird methods (like putting snakes in a pool, pretending to be the ambulance, and so on). Meanwhile, Lee continues to “make amends” and increase his popularity among the public, earning millions.

Choi on the other hand, is not so convinced that Lee is the killer and seeks to prove that Lee isn’t. Choi and Lee meet in a televised debate (due to the popularity of Lee), where Lee and his editor try to prove that he is indeed the killer, while Choi tries to prove them wrong.  This particular debate allows civilians to call in and state their opinions, or ask questions to any of the debaters.  A person named “J” calls in, skeptical of Lee’s identity as the serial killer. He taunts Lee, asking how much he really knows about Lieutenant Choi—does he know how fast the detective runs, how high he jumps? The biggest shocker however, is that “J” ends up claiming that he is the killer. Now we have two killers and one detective that has to sort the truth out.

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Perceptions:

I left out a lot of the other details in the overview, like the relationship between Choi and his girlfriend’s mother, as well as the interactions between all the victim’s families.  I tried to focus on the main plot and give enough that you’d have quite a bit of knowledge about the film without really giving away much (the plot twist was actually interesting, though I think some of you will probably figure it out). Anyway, I thought the film was pretty decent overall, though it did get slow at times. As a result, I skipped some parts of the movie where there is a lot of talking between people that isn’t too important to the story (which is part of the reason I left that stuff out of the overview).  There were some flash-backs towards the end that I didn’t like because I don’t think it actually added anything to the movie at that point. I kind of wish they came earlier, because it probably would have given a better perspective of Detective Choi, but that’s just me. In terms of filmography, I enjoyed the dark hues and the ambience while the plot was moving forward, but during the doldrums, the aura made the boring parts even more boring, because there isn’t much substance behind it. This isn’t some great artistic and socially aware movie or anything, so it became boring faster than if I was seeing Poetry or another movie of the like. (Not that I’ve actually seen Poetry.)

Speaking of social commentary, this movie does bring up one interesting concept (another reviewer mentioned it as well). In the story, Lee becomes so popular that school girls find him to be attractive because he’s the killer. At one point in the movie, there are dozens and dozens of girls who protest outside of the TV Station defending the guilt of Lee Doo-seok.  I am not kidding.  These people are so infatuated with this “handsome-serial-killer,” that they have some sort of strange form of Stockholm Syndrome. You would think that people would be disgusted with a serial killer that killed ten people, but I guess if you’re a hot serial killer who writes a good book, all is forgiven. Food for thought: does this mean beautiful people can get away with anything?

(IMO, even though the movie does exaggerate all of this, in some ways, I don’t think it’s too far from the truth. And that’s a tad bit scary.)

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If you’re curious about how Park Shi-hoo is in this movie, I would say he’s not bad, though his performance is not anything to talk home about. I did however, like the person who played Han Ji-Soo (Kim Young-ae), the girlfriend’s mother, quite a bit because she was legitimately scary. Her face was so emotionless and carried so much pain that it freaked me out. In a way, her face reminded me of those questionably human aristocrats in The Housemaid (I actually totally regret watching the little of that movie that I did.)

The bottom line? Confession of a Murderer is worth watching if you haven’t banned yourself from Park Shi-hoo. If you do watch (or have watched) the movie, let me know what you think of it in the comments. You can also find the movie here.

(Showbox Media Plex Co., Dasepo Club Co Ltd.)

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