Follow HanCinema
NewsLetter DailyWeekly
My HanCinema | Sign up, Why ? Your E-mail   Password    Auto| Help
HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and Drama Database, discover the South Korean cinema and drama diversity Contact HanCinema HanCinema on TwitterFaceBook HanCinema PageHanCinema on Twitter

'The Big Scene' showcases a clever detective thriller

2005/08/11 | 597 views | Permalink | Source

Film and drama director Jang Jin is versatile. He knows how to make dramas that are commercially successful, and these days his artistic energy is focused on making equally marketable films. "The Big Scene", to be released nationwide today, is a case in point.

The movie is not a Korean blockbuster. Nor does it have any special effect or eye-popping action scenes that can differ from other mainstream movies. Yet it stands out largely because of its intricate and intriguing storytelling that captures the imagination of the audience.

The fifth feature film by director Jang starts with a plausible murder case. A beautiful copyrighter named Jung Yoo-jung is found brutally murdered in a posh hotel room in Seoul, and police arrest the suspect, Kim Young-hoon (Shin Ha-kyun), near the hotel.

Prosecutor Choi Yeon-hee (Cha Seung-won), known for his ruthless and relentless ability to nab criminals, takes up the case and interrogates Kim. But it's not a usual homicide case - a local TV station decides to broadcast the entire process live for 48 hours. With a campy take on the ratings-obsessed media a la "The Truman Show", director Jang steers the storyline in a way that defies expectations, faithful to the "whodunit" genre.

First, it turns out that the prime suspect Kim may not be the murderer. Although his attitude is far from normal, a lie detector clears him of the murder charge. Prosecutor Choi and Kim confront each other in a small interrogation room, whose details are broadcast via a hidden camera all over the nation.

The showdown in the small space showcases director Jang's skewered sense of humor. Prosecutor Choi orders Kim to use only subject and verb when answering his questions. "I understand", Kim says. "Why did you bring the oil box?" Choi asks. "I tried to set fire", Kim says. "That's not the subject-verb format!" the prosecutor screams, pounding the desk and keeping his deadly serious manner. "I'm difficult", Kim murmurs. "What?" the prosecutor says, still scowling. "The subject-verb format is difficult", Kim says meekly, following the rule set by the prosecutor.

Yes, it's not that side-splitting a scene, and the two famous actors are not going overboard, either. But somehow the awkward situation and twisted dialogues tend to generate laughter - perhaps from both the fictional TV viewers of the live program and the real moviegoers of this cleverly-made film.

Prosecutor Choi is struggling to find a breakthrough, but his longtime rival, prosecutor Sung Joon (Ryu Seung-ryong), seems to be a step ahead of him. The conflict intensifies as the two race to find the real culprit.

But the TV station staff members are not satisfied with the case. They want more sensational developments in the case to raise ratings further and embrace the idea of using a shamanistic ritual to call upon the dead spirit of the late copyrighter. As expected, something unexpected happens when a shaman summons the soul.

The movie's strength is chiefly drawn from the solid scenario based on director Jang's own drama. And Cha Seung-won's acting also shines throughout the film, particularly when he takes a serious posture and threatens suspects in a manner that seems eerily authentic and yet inevitably hilarious.

Shin Ha-kyun also proves his talented ability to blend himself into a role smoothly, playing a troubled suspect in a way that raises the overall tension in the detective story.

A bulk of the scenes in the film have been shot in a large studio set located in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. Although the set limits the space, cameras move freely thanks to the new equipment called "SpyderCam". While characters get into the conflict-laden plot, the SpyderCam system zooms in on their facial - and by extension psychological - expressions in detail.

Despite the respectable filmmaking level in "The Big Scene", the question remains: Director Jang's films based on his own dramas have been largely successful, but what will happen if his drama-to-be-film repertoire finally runs out?

By Yang Sung-jin

Attention You're reading the news with potential spoilers, make them spoiler free, dismiss



 Previous news
  • Local and Foreign Films With English Subtitles
    2005/08/11 (Source)
    Cinema = Movement/Revolution

    Until Aug. 15

    Seoul Art Cinema

    Seoul Arts Cinema will show a total of 52 films dealing with the issue of political revolution in modern history. Marking the 60th anniversary of the end of Japanese colonial rule over Korea and the 25th anniversary of the Kwangju ,...

  • "The Wig" - "The Wig" Weaves a Good Horror Tale
    2005/08/11 (Source)
    By Philip Dorsey Iglauer
    Contributing Writer

    The movie pamphlets, posters and TV commercials for "Kabal (The Wig)" - "The Wig" do not do this psychological shock-horror movie justice.

    Although there are underlying sexual politics at work in Director Won Sin-Yeon feature film debut, they did n,...

  • 2nd Green Film Festival Kicks Off Sept. 8
    2005/08/10 (Source)

    115 Films from 34 Countries Joins GFFIS
    By Nam Hyun-Woo
    Staff Reporter

    South Korea hosts numerous film festivals, some of them international ones. Its influence over many of its neighboring countries in the area of film and TV is called "Korean Wave".

    Yet, there is another one called "Gree,...

Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$0.99 monthly or US$7.99 yearly (you can cancel anytime). The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up.


Remove ads

Sign up




Visible, hide

Movie of the week

Learn to read Korean in 90 minutes or less using visual associations