Dir. Jeong Byeong-gil (in attendance) |South Korea 2012 | 119:00 | Korean with English subtitles
November 9, 2013 | 9:45 PM EST | The Royal (Toronto) | Toronto Premiere
Not ready to let go of Hallowe’en just yet? Then Confession of Murder might satisfy those darker cravings of yours before the holiday season fully kicks in. Even with a white-masked killer as the central antagonist, there are well-paced action sequences, unpredicatable intrigue, and touches of humour to hold up the heavier emotional moments of this thriller.
Confession of Murder begins with a flashback: police lieutenant Choi (Jeong Jae-yeong) remembers the last time he saw a serial killer who had been accused of killing at least 10 women. In the flashback, Choi chases and fights the masked killer until the killer stabs him in an alley. Holding onto his wound, Choi asks the killer, “Did you kill her?” Instead of answering, the killer warns Choi that he will cut the throat of Choi’s mother and he leaves Choi with a token: a deep cut across the left cheek.
Fifteen years later, the cut now a scar, a man named Lee Soo-Duk (Park Si-hoo) appears out of nowhere to confess that he was the serial killer that eluded Choi in that alley. With the statute of limitations on the murders safeguarding him from arrest and prosecution, Lee has published a book about his crimes and seems poised to become a huge celebrity.
However, Lee’s sudden celebrity also ignites a series of precarious events, including bringing the families of his victims out of the woodwork. As they begin to plot his kidnapping in order to find out the whereabouts of his 11th victim, whose body was never found, Lieutenant Choi begins receiving death threats on his mother’s life.
Perhaps because of Park Chan-Wook and his infamous trilogy, no other national cinema does vengeance films quite like Korea, but director Jeong Byeong-gil‘s film is a little bit on the lighter side of that genre. While there are still incredibly visceral images of torture and death, a significant part of Confession of Murder’s unpredictability lies in its enjoyable and thrilling (im)balance of humour, grief, exhilaration and of course, vengeance. Any serious fans of serial killer thrillers will not want to miss this film.