Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Film Review: Bloody Innocent (2010)

Bloody Innocent (Review)
South Korea/2010
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

In 1985, Dong-sik and Seung-ho are close friends in high school, and both like the same girl, Myung-hee. One day, Myung-hee is found raped and dead. Subsequently, the mystery of her death is slowly unraveled over 17 years...

Without spoiling too much, in 1985, the lead suspect of Myung-here's murder is Dong-sik's brother. He is arrested, and Dong-sik decides to leave his small town, noting that it's time to move on. Dong-sik and Seung-ho's paths are separated - Dong-sik working as a sailor and Seung-ho continuing his education. For the next 17 years, Dong-sik and Seung-ho come into contact at least 4 times. Each time they meet, they get closer and closer to finding out what really happened to Myung-hee; each time they meet, their relationship is strained and damaged even more.

The sloppy storytelling is the most significant problem within Bloody Innocent. Within its 1hr 35min, the film goes over 5 significant events/years. Each event is told in short time, and, due to the massive time skips, they feel very disconnected. The confusion continues as the flashbacks are repetitive and show very little detail, I think there was even a flashback within a flashback at one point. The actual story is mostly ineffective as relationships are never fully developed; you would never know Dong-sik and Seung-ho were best friends without reading the description of the film. The ending of the film was okay; however, it feels incomplete, it felt like I missed something significant as the mystery doesn't feel resolved. (I really don't think I missed anything, though.)

Bloody Innocent has a few redeeming factors regarding the story, however. For example, the relationship between Seung-ho and Myung-hee gains some traction and does become effective towards the end. There are some scenes that you can connect to and are painful to watch. And, despite their relationship lacking development and explanation, Dong-sik and Seung-ho change overtime and their characters develop separately; I liked watching them change over time.

The acting is great. Kim Da-Hyun plays Seung-ho; there are a few scenes where he shows authentic emotion, especially towards the end where you can see and feel him choke up and cry. Shin Sung-rok plays Dong-sik; his performance was also great, although his character emphasizes anger and frustration much more. I really enjoyed the music in this film, especially the song that plays during the credits. The writing and structure of the story was very unorganized and sloppy, in my opinion.

Overall, Bloody Innocent, or River of Murder, is a poorly-told mystery film, with a few redeeming factors. The story is genuinely interesting, but the execution is flawed. The few standout performances and effective scenes can't save this film from its other severe problems. I recommend renting or streaming before purchasing.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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