Another day, another double dose of the 2013 NYAFF! In which we take a look at a hard boiled Korean cop who wants justice and the pretty boy killer that’s the thorn in his side, plus three Thai hipsters and the drug dealer that may be their worst mistake ever…
Confession of Murder
Choi Hyeong-goo is a detective both scarred physically and mentally by a serial killer, one that slipped through his fingers (after chasing him around dimly lit, rain-soaked back alleys and rooftops, which kicks off the movie in spectacular fashion). 17 years have passed since, which is enough time for Choi to become an absolute wreck, as well for the statue of limitations on said crimes to pass. And on the very day he can no longer be charged, the murder comes out of hiding, to reveal himself as Lee Doo-seok. He’s oh so sorry for all his crimes and ready to spill the beans… all of which are detailed in his brand new tell-all book. Not surprisingly, Lee becomes a celebrity sensation overnight, though it helps that he’s a very good lucking and charming motherf*cker on top of everything, so all the lady folk across the country are madly in love with the guy. Meanwhile the police force is pissed about the entire situation, but due to the law, they can’t put their hands on Lee. Hence why he makes a visit to the station, to ask Choi for forgiveness, in another staged event for the cameras to help promote his book. The more than a little pissed lawman lets everyone knows that he believes the author to be a fraud and is determined to expose the real killer.
Though Lee has other detractors as well, in the form of a small army comprised of family members of the murder’s victims. They want revenge, obviously, and even manage to kidnap Lee, which immediately leads to yet another spectacular action set piece that raises the bar when it comes to car chases. It’s perhaps worth mentioning how Confession of Murder is by Jeong Byeong-gil, who knows a thing or three about on screen action; he previously directed Action Boys, the documentary on Korean stuntmen from a few NYAFFs back. Also, in case it hasn’t been made abundantly clear already, this film is not quite the dark, psycho-drama that one might have expected given the premise; there’s certainly bits of that to be sure, but it’s also a fast paced action flick, with copious amount of black comedy sprinkled about as well. Anyhow, Choi ends up having to save Lee’s ass from certain doom, but only because that’s his job. He also begrudgingly agrees to appear on a live debate show with the killer, in an attempt to expose the pretty boy on live television. But then a funny thing happens; one of the live callers claims to be the actual murder, and then all hell breaks loose. Lee is adamant that he’s the real deal and this other person is the actual wannabe, the aforementioned gang of survivors comes up with a brand new act of vengeance, plus Choi is given a brand new, vital piece to the puzzle. We also discover why the case has been eating away at his soul this entire time as well: one of the murder victims hit awfully close to home.
In the end, we get the inevitable three-way confrontation, on the air of course. Much to delight of ratings hungry television broadcasters, as well as the millions watching at home, who are all too happy to gobble up such drama. To say anything else would be totally giving everything away; Confession of Murder is an absolute must see, plain and simple. Again, like pretty much everything else at this year’s NYAFF, it’s only playing once, but thankfully its lone show time hasn’t happened yet! Unfortunately it’s at a time that’s going to be inconvenient to some, but do whatever you can to make the Wednesday July 3, 3:00PM, at Lincoln Center screening.
Countdown is a horror flick that hails from Thailand, but which was filmed here in America, in New York City to be exact. It tells the tale of three Thai hipsters, Pam, Jack, and Bee; all three are in America on the behalf of their parents, some of whom have made great sacrifices for their children. They’re here to earn a better future than themselves, but instead the trio simply acts like totally spoiled rotten brats. Pam‘s supposed to be studying fashion design, but all she does is buy designer threads and banging some American dude named Fabio. Meanwhile, Jack is supposed to be earning a business degree, but hasn’t even been accepted into NYU, and is just concerned with scoring weed and banging Bee. The last one is seemingly the most levelheaded of the bunch, though Bee appears to be almost as lazy and conceited enough to be clumped together with the other two, so all three are totally ripe to be tortured in a horror flick! Anyhow, it’s New Year’s Eve and the three want to usher in 2013 totally high off their asses (okay, not so much Bee).
Jack asks his downstairs neighbor, a fellow Thai youngster, to hook him up. But he refuses, because the guy’s giving drug dealing a rest. It’s a new year, and he’s eager to start a new life, one that’s totally clean. This prompts Jack to gather up the torn pieces of a business card belonging to his pal’s supplier, some guy named Jesus, and call him up. You can pretty much guess what happens next; Jesus swings by the kids’ apartment and initially appears to be a super cool bro. Aside from hooking everyone up with some primo sh*t, he’s also kinda charming, funny even, and also doesn’t mind being laughed, even when he can’t understand the jokes that are being cracked at his expense (he’s American, and therefore doesn’t understand it when the kids make snide comments in Thai). But, as you’d expect most drug dealers to be (especially the kind who not only spouts biblical psalms repeatedly, but also solves every problem by pulling out someone or something’s teeth, or so we are told repeatedly), Jesus begins to creep everyone out and warms out his welcome. So, does he take being asked to get lost kindly? Of course not! Not only that, he also speaks perfect Thai, plus knows a lot about the lives of our three dopes, whom he begins to beat the crap out of.
Despite its extremely modern flourishes, Countdown definitely takes in cues from 80s horror classics. The budget might be close to nothing, the acting might not be the best, and while not everything makes sense, the production as a whole is both refreshing and inspired. Some of the editing and camerawork in particular is especially impressive. It’s the type of ingenuity you saw in Evil Dead 2 (not saying that Countdown is in the same class, or even the same kind of movie), and which you just don’t see in other movies of its kind today. Crap like the Saw movies, for example. While not exactly scary, it’s a fun watch, and a definitely guilty pleasure. Especially if you like seeing hipsters eat sh*t and die. Countdown can be seen Wednesday July 3, 10:20PM, at Lincoln Center.