Connect with us

Exclusive Premium Content

Recalled This Korean Thriller Moves You To Fears




Starring  Seo Yea-ji, Kim Kang-woo

Directed  by  Seo Yoo-min

Rating: ***

There is a shot at  the end  of this breathtaking thriller where we  see  the two protagonists,a man and a woman, who  look like the  perfect couple, standing staring into  a  beautiful  lake somewhere  in Canada. That  breathtaking shot  holds  the  key  to the plot,  a  tender brutal  yarn so splendidly threaded and woven into  a pastiche of pain, retribution and catharsis, I doffed  my hat to the  writer.

Where are  such inventive writers in  our own country?  We seem  to be stuck in a  soap bubble. Cinema  the worldover has  moved to  fresh  unexplored territory in pursuit of stories that  open the  locks  of the human  subconscious.

Recalled is  a gripping drama which moves from  being intriguing  to  moving, and  finally leaves  us  freed of fear  immersed in  tears(is this  what the band  Tears  For Fears meant when they named themselves?). It starts with Soo-jin ( the very  lovely Seo Yea-ji) in hospital with  complete  memory loss. Her husband Ji-hoon(Kim Kang-woo), or that’s what we are  told he is,  stands rocksteady by her side.

 But who exactly is this man so devoted  to  the  fragile  vulnerable  beauty looking so  lost  you want to  protect her  from the evil that lurks outside?  The  dramatic  core  of  the plot hinges on Ji’hoon’s identity. The  build-up towards the devastating finale is so  riveting you will happily sweep aside some  of the improbabilities that  come hurling at you.

The framing of Soo-jin’s  bewildering memory-flashes  showing an endangered  little  girl and  a protective   little  boy  is  so  dreamlike  it’s like watching a  slow-dance in a trance. Kim Gi-tae’s cinematography  captures both the dreamlike trance and the feverish crime drama  as two sides of  the came coin.

 I wish the  director had  just a wee bit more faith in his main plot  instead of shading the  picture in eye-grabbing colours that  titivate  the plot  but de-activate   its core drama. There is  too  much action  in the film when it’s the emotional heart of the plot that  furnishes  the story and irrigates its  arteries.

Nonetheless, the  plot  has ample emotional residue to  see it through to the  stunning finale. What emerges from the tumult(including a  fire that burns down much of the  storytelling’s  bleeding heart) is   the  one theme that we  all believe in: family first.

Recalled is a many-splendoured film.   It is  on  the surface  a thriller, and a  very  good one at that.  But dig  underneath.And  you get a  story of family ties and untold sacrifices that  will break your heart.And yes, if  all this is  not enough reason to watch this  film, then there is  the lead actress Seo Yea-ji whose fragility is her main strength. The  film works  in reverse. Its strength  lies in its characters’ fragility.

Continue Reading