Thursday, July 28, 2011

Children (2011)

Children / A-i-deul (2011)
Children / A-i-deul / 아이들 (2011)

Genre: Crime Drama
Director: Lee Kyoo-man
Starring: Park Yong-woo, Ryoo Seung-yong, Song Dong-il
Duration: 132 min.
Rating: 6.6  

On March 26, 1991, five boys went to Mount Waryong to catch frogs but never returned.  Eleven years later, police discover the bodies of the five children, and television producer Kang Ji-Seung tries to solve the mystery.

Children is a South Korean film directed by Lee Kyoo-man, based on a famous incident known in Korea as the case of the Frog Boys. The 1991 disappearance and murder of five young boys, whose bodies were finally discovered 11 years later.  The case remains unsolved and the 15 year statute of limitations expired in 2006.

This is a crime drama told mainly from the point of view of Kang Ji-seung (Park Yong-woo), an investigative journalist/television producer trying to resurrect his career after it is discovered that his latest documentary was staged.  Relegated to the small town of Daegu, he stumbles on the now cold case of the Frog Boys and thinks that solving it will be his ticket back to Seoul.

The first half of the film is really well done, as Kang follows the misguided theories of university professor Hwang Woo-hyeok (Ryoo Seoung-yong) who is obsessed with the case and claims that one of the children's parents must be the killer.  This culminates in a disastrous and fruitless search of one of the boy's homes, that leaves both of their careers in ruins.

However it all begins to fall apart after that, as we jump forward 5 years to the discovery of the children's bodies, after a massive storm reveals their burial place on the mountain.  This also happens to be where the film really deviates from the real story.  The narrative turns from an interesting character study and mystery, into an overly melodramatic mess with a poorly executed final act filled unnecessarily with soap opera style moments that severely detract from the potential impact of the film.

Bonjour Tristesse

Children / A-i-deul (2011)

Children / A-i-deul (2011)

Children / A-i-deul (2011)

Children / A-i-deul (2011)

Children / A-i-deul (2011)

Children / A-i-deul (2011)

Children / A-i-deul (2011)

Children / A-i-deul (2011)


Bonjour Tristesse said...

I know, it felt like such a let down at that point.

リリアン _♛_ said...

liked the movie, sad, too bad they did not discover what really happened: /I love Park Yong Woo

Tim B. said...

Sad they never really found out what to the boys, but certainly seems like an interesting story.

The Reel Foto said...

oooh sounds interesting, save for the second half. ;)

The Angry Lurker said...

A pity as it sounded promising and I recognise a few faces from the poster.

FrontRoomCinema said...

See I was sold on this then you mention the final act and I am turned right off!! Thanks for pointing this one out though BT

Jack L said...

Sounds rather depressing, shame it's not so good as the description alone was enough to get me interested. It reminded me a bit of the amazing Memories Of Murder.
The Koreans really do make these kind of fills particularly well.
Anyway, nice review, I may see this one at some point, but at least I know what to expect now.

d_4 said...

Oh dammit! I was looking forward to it, it almost seemed worth finding! :|

shutterbug said...

They should call this movie CSI:Korea! :) said...

Well, it sounded good...that's too bad.  I usually find that South Korean cinema really does a good job with crime/suspense thrillers--oh well.  

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah that is the creepiest thing about it.  Cue the Unsolved Mysteries music.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah Memories of Murder is a much better film.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

LOL, but don't they usually solve the case in 28 minutes or less?

Hoi-Ming Ng said...

One of the most disappointing experiences: a lame final act.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah it is a sad story, and Park had a decent performance but I didn't like how they handled the last part of the film.

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