Ubisoft Presents Fantasia 2008

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Voice of a Murderer

(Geunom Moksori)

North american Premiere

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Director: Park Jin-pyo
Screenplay: Park Jin-pyo
Cast: Sol Kyung-gu, Kim Nam-ju, Kang Dong-won
Producers: Ahn Soo-hyun
Distributor: CJ Entertainment


Television new anchorman Han Kyung-bae and his strongly religious stay-at-home wife Oh Ji-sun love their son Hwang-sun, though one might not know it from rigorous exercise routines and dietary taboos they subject the shy, quiet nine-year-old boy to, in an effort to combat his obesity. Any doubts about their love for their son, however, are put to rest the moment they discover that their son has been kidnapped. An anonymous caller, speaking in a frighteningly calm and confident manner, demands a small fortune in ransom. The couple is prepared to pay it, indeed to do anything to get their child back safely. But the exchange is not an easy matter, and one only made more frustrating by bad decisions and fraying nerves as, over the course of 44 days, their lives become a waking nightmare of torn emotions and desperate helplessness.

Based on 1991 kidnapping of Lee Hyong-ho, a widely publicized event still vividly remembered by Koreans, VOICE OF A MURDERER takes a very different tack from similarly-themed thrillers, like the Mel Gibson vehicle RANSOM. Given that the outcome of the situation was familiar to the movie’s home audience, director Park Jin-pyo revisits to the docudrama form he applied to sexy seniors in 2002’s TOO YOUNG TO DIE, focusing on the slow-burning misery of the persecuted parents and their all too human failures, mistakes and regrets. The results are honest and compelling, with the sharp tang of truth. In March of 2007, Korean police made an arrest in a kidnap/murder case that many saw as a possible copycat crime inspired by this true-crime film—the suspect claimed not to have seen the film, though given that it’s one of Korea’s biggest box-office successes of 2007, that’s a suspicious claim.

—Nicolas Archambault (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)