"Tell Me Something" good almost good enough
The Korean detective thriller "Tell Me Something" has strong characters and a gruesomely intriguing plot but doesn't wrap up its central mystery convincingly.
By JOSHUA TANZER
(Originally reviewed at the When Korean Cinema Attacks! festival in August 2001.)
When the bodies start showing up in "Tell Me Something," they do so in unusual fashion indeed. The first one is cut into pieces and, the medical examiner notes, the pieces aren't all from the same person. That means that there are more unmatched body parts waiting to be discovered. They've all been mutilated to prevent identification, so cops have nothing to go on until, from the tiniest of clues, the medical examiner (it almost should have been his movie) figures out who one of them is, and the pieces start falling into place.
The pieces lead Detective Jo (Han Suk-Kyu) and his partner to a young professional woman, Chae Su-Yeon (Shim Eun-Ha), and it turns out that she dated each of the victims over the years. Somebody has a sick and deadly psychological fixation on Chae's ex-boyfriends, and the bodies will keep piling up until the detectives can figure out who it is or everyone she's ever dated has been carved up.
|TELL ME SOMETHING|
|Directed by: Yoon-Hyun Chang.|
Written by: Yoon-Hyun Chang, Eun-Ah In.
Cast: Suk-kyu Han, Eun-ha Shim, Hang-Seon Jang, Jeong-Ah Yeom, Seok-Hwan An, Cheol-Ho Park, Jun-Sang Yu, Hwan-Jun Lee.
In Korean with English subtitles.
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Tell Me Something
Until near the end, "Tell Me Something" is an intense and stylishly made thriller starring a pair of actors who had gained popularity in Korea playing a romantic couple in the completely different "Christmas in August." Shim is particularly good as the anguished woman, wanting to run from the danger lurks around her, knowing that anybody she's ever known could be the vicious killer, and yet forced to confront this horror daily as the police question her again and again for clues.
However, the film doesn't quite make it to the finish line. First the crime's solution and then a final plot twist seem calculated and unreal in fact, I'm still trying to figure out how the ending makes sense. Whodunit is no problem but why is pretty implausible. It's a shame because up to a certain point, "Tell Me Something" has both a novel crime-drama concept and solid characters grappling with extraordinary experience.
|SEPTEMBER 14, 2001|
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