November 10, 2009

Murder, Take One (2005)

THINK ABOUT IT: With the glut of crime dramas, true crime exposés, and reality shows filling our TV lineup, is it really just a matter of time before these three genres procreate and deliver a show featuring all of their elements?

Such is the idea behind Murder, Take One.

After a woman is murdered at a hotel, the obvious suspect is caught and interrogated – which is broadcast live on a reality show that’s produced, in the host’s words, “to prevent felonies and engender a secure environment.” But of course, all the pieces to the murder – the suspect, the evidence, the crime – may not be as clear-cut as they seem…


Despite the implications of its title, the showbiz angle of Murder, Take One is secondary to the actual murder investigation and its process.

Taking place over a two-day span, the film blurs the line between crime drama and true crime. At times, it feels like Law & Order: Korea, right down to its ensemble cast and screen titles telling us the stage of the investigation (and how much time has elapsed).

Much like its American TV crime drama counterparts, Murder, Take One is very methodical in its execution. It unfurls like a typical police procedural, but sadly it doesn’t rise above that formula. By the third act, Murder veers off the procedural path to involve an exorcism (done largely for the reality show’s ratings), followed by a finale that – while offering a neat twist – closes the film with an otherworldly experience that goes against all the grounded logic that came before it.

And neither that final twist, nor the handful that come before it, are enough to sustain Murder’s 115-minute running time – which ultimately reduces the film’s level of impact from “gripping” to more like “compelling.”

Tidbit: As the lead prosecutor, actor Seung-won Cha is no stranger to playing characters pursuing justice; he played an investigator trying to stop a serial killer in 2006’s Blood Rain.

Korean, with subtitles.


Will your kids want to watch it?
I can’t imagine the appeal Murder, Take One would have for children, be they kids or tweens. If you decide to watch the film with children in the house, the only objectionable content might be a brief shot of a nude female body as an autopsy begins, and adult language (as subtitles).

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
If she’s not a fan of subtitles or police procedurals, then no.

You guys question him…I’m off to get my jacket Bedazzled.

Murder, Take One
• Director: Jang Jin
• Screenwriter: Jang Jin
• Stars: Seung-won Cha, Yeong-Nam Jang, Dong-hwan Jeong, Gyu-su Jeong
• MPAA Rating: N/A

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1 comment:

Kathy B. said...

Another great review of a movie I don't need to see!!!


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