By Kim Tae-jong
The new movie "The World of Silence
" (Choyonghan Sesang) is promoted as a mystery thriller, but it seems the typical whodunit serial murder case lacks what the genre must have _ a tight buildup with scattered yet inevitable clues that later add up to the conclusion.
As a result, the film, to the last minute, fails to fully involve the audience in the intensive mind game with its director.
Directed by Jo Ee-seok, the movie deals with a serial murder case of girls from the same orphanage. Three girls are missing and found dead under similar circumstances. They had been injected with a rare hallucinogenic drug before being murdered.
Detective Kim, played by Park Yong-woo
, who strongly believes in following his intuition after five years on the job, investigates the case.
In the meantime, professional photographer Ryu Jung-ho, played by Kim Sang-kyung
, returns to Seoul from the United States and takes on the guardianship of Park Su-yeon, a girl who is likely to be the next target in the murder case.
Detective Kim accidentally meets Ryu at the crime scenes and at first suspects him of being the serial killer. But Kim eliminates Ryu as he narrows down the suspects on his list. But under the detective's nose, the killer abducts Park.
As the movie progresses the audience expects the director to slowly divulge the whole story by revealing a certain number of clues.
But the manner in which the director does so is clumsy. The film has unnecessary fragments of stories and a series of coincidental accidents, consequently slowing down the tempo of the development of the main story and loosening the tension.
For instance, Ryu meets a boy eating discarded food on a street and takes him home. Suddenly, the boy's father threatens to kill his son for no reason. The police, including detective Kim, arrive at the house but it is Ryu who manages to calm the father with his mysterious power of mind reading.
But Ryu's mind reading ability and his tragic memory, which forced him to leave the country when he was young, is of little help in solving the disappearance of the girl.
Another big problem is there are only a few people on the suspect list, not leaving much room for you to guess what is going on with the related characters. Later, you find out that the least likely suspect is the killer.
You may think the two talented veteran actors can help save the film from becoming a total disaster, but they portray plain characters with a lack of conflict and cooperation.
The director may need to escape his own "world of silence" and listen to what the audience wants from a thriller.
The film opens nationwide on Dec. 14.