This Korean romantic thriller from Park Chan-wook (Handmaiden, Snowpiercer) begins with the classic set-up. Weary detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il ) arrives at a crime scene. A man is dead. But was it an accident or could it be murder? The police want to close the case and call it an accident, but it begins to look like his young, beautiful widow Seo-rae (Wei Tang, Lust, Caution) could be a murder suspect after she comes to the station. She has an alibi and Hae-joon wants to believe her. Still something is off. And as the attraction grows between them while he continues his investigation, the question of whether she is a femme fatale seducing him to get away with murder or her feelings for him are real plagues him. It’s a slow twisty story. And though it is probably a bit longer that it needs to be, it’s a satisfying and engrossing murder mystery.
Seo-rae is a Chinese immigrant who married the older man who saved her from being sent back to China. Probably not a lot of love there. But she’s a sweet nurse who takes care of the elderly. Hae-joon is a well respected detective. But he suffers from insomnia and his marriage is not on the best footing. And while the rest of the department have moved on, he becomes obsessed with the case. I can’t really say a lot more about the plot without spoiling the twists.
It’s a beautifully shot film with a languid pace, and both actors are excellent. There are moments in the film that I was not entirely sure what was going on. Flashbacks? Jumps in time? And as I said, I think it could have been cut down some from its 2 hr. 18 mi. length. It was one of those films where I thought “this is the end” a couple of times, but then it went on. Nevertheless, I recommend it to lovers of a good murder mystery and foreign film lovers.