Thursday, July 25, 2013

Film Review: The Voice of a Murderer (2007)

The Voice of a Murderer (Review)
South Korea/2007
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a drama so good it feels like a thriller..."

In 1991, the son of a famous news anchor, Han Kyung-bae (Kyung-gu Sol), mysteriously disappears. Eventually, a man calls claiming to have the child and demanding $100,000 for his safe return. Along with his wife, Oh Ji-sun (Nam-ju Kim), and the clumsy police, Han Kyung-bae engages in a game of cat and mouse with the elusive kidnapper.

The Voice of a Murder is a fictionalized story based on actual events. The story plays out like a thrilling drama. The family relationship is developed early on as we're introduced to a normal family; a hardworking, celebrity-like father, a caring mother, and a gentle, innocent son. With such a nice, believable child, the kidnapping becomes much more effective. It's painful to watch this family as it is torn apart because of how the family is developed - because of how I cared for all of the characters.

Aside from characters, the film focuses on the situation at hand: a kidnapping. The family struggle and their actions are important. The cops are presented as mostly incompetent, but with their hearts in the right place; although they make mistakes, they genuinely want to help - and we witness that through the different investigations, interrogations, and the forensic science used. There are plenty of races against the clock scenes and thrilling chases. The mystery plays out well, really wondering who embodies this terrifying voice. The ending is chilling, a truly spine-tingling finale; in fact, I would consider the last 15 minutes, up to the credits, unforgettable. Some elements of the story are formulaic, but they are masterfully executed and entertaining.

Kyung-gu Sol leads this fantastic cast with an emotional performance, and a very charismatic performance, as well. Nam-ju Kim also captures her frustrated, panicked character well. The rest of the cast is equally impressive, even the bodiless voice of the kidnapper is impressive. The music really matches the tone of the film, creating tension and dread while seamlessly blending with the visuals. Park Jin-pyo writing and direction really brings this chilling event to life with incredible force.

Overall, The Voice of a Murder is an incredibly effective, emotionally draining, and immensely entertaining drama - a drama so good it feels like a thriller. The story is effective and the ending is unforgettable - everything plays out perfectly. The Voice of a Murder, despite a few generic moments, is a must-watch film.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, brief nudity.

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