Friday, November 3, 2017

Film Review: The Truth Beneath (2016)

The Truth Beneath (Review)
South Korea/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a stylish, fast-paced mystery-thriller with plenty of twists and turns as well as some stellar performances."
For 15 days, a politician and his wife maneuver through a scandal involving their daughter's sudden disappearance just before the national elections.

The Truth Beneath is a roller coaster of a film, filled with exciting twists and turns. The plot follows politician Kim Jong-chan (Kim Joo-hyuk), who is seeking to win an election against his former mentor, his wife Kim Yeon-hong (Son Ye-jin), and their daughter Kim Min-jin (Shin Ji-hoon). All is well during the campaign until Min-jin mysteriously vanishes. In order to keep their political momentum, Jong-chan and his team decide to keep the disappearance under wraps. Yeon-hong, however, won't allow it as she embarks on an investigation of her own. During her investigation, Yeon-hong discovers her daughter's hidden life as well as much more. I won't say more, though, because that would just ruin the surprises. Seriously, this is a film you should watch without reading spoiler-riddled reviews—the less you know, the better. It leads to a great climax and a solid ending.

The Truth Beneath is a great film. Thanks to its interesting characters, compelling mystery, and effective direction, the film is engaging from beginning to end. I didn't check the time, I didn't reach for my phone, I just kept watching the film. I had to know what was next. Yes, there are some predictable plot points, but it is still engaging and entertaining. In terms of its twists and turns, I don't think this film will drop jaws like Oldboy does during first viewings, but it will widen a few eyes and conjure a few gasps. I'd say the only real negative thing about the film was its often quick and snappy editing. At times, the editing is superb, creating a seamless transition from scene-to-scene while remaining stylish and energetic. During others, it can leave you scratching your head, especially when it's combining multiple scenes from different timelines all at once. I suppose this is a bigger issue for non-Korean speaking audiences, though. It can be hard to keep up if you have to read the subtitles.

Soo Ye-jin was fantastic as the leading lady. Kim Joo-hyuk, Shin Ji-hoon, and Kim So-hee also offered great supporting performances. Korean movies can often have some melodramatic performances, but I felt they were all grounded and realistic here. The film was beautifully shot and the music was great. Like I said, the editing is stylish and fluid, creating an engaging experience. The film was written and directed by Lee Kyoung-mi. Although there are a few bumps in the road, Kyoung-mi creates an engaging and thrilling mystery through her excellent writing and direction. I hope to see more from her in the future.

Overall, The Truth Beneath is a great film. It's a stylish, fast-paced mystery-thriller with plenty of twists and turns as well as some stellar performances. If you need more political scandals in your life, The Truth Beneath is for you.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, brief nudity.

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