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Tell Me Something More at IMDbPro »Telmisseomding (original title)

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Grisly murders challenge police

Author: msroz from United States
29 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Horror movies typically have supernatural or non-natural elements. "Tell Me Something" doesn't have any of that at all. It's not a horror movie. Neither is it a thriller, as they usually place the protagonist in one difficult, dangerous or challenging situation after another or pervasively throughout the picture. This movie is first and foremost a crime picture and a mystery picture, told as a police procedural.

The crimes being committed are gory serial killings. This picture is definitely not for children or for those who are faint of heart in the face of blood or gore. The film shows one killing (with amputation) and quite a lot of gore, body parts and corpses after some off-screen killings. Was all of it necessary? I don't think so. I think it went overboard to provide what seems to attract certain audiences nowadays. But artistically all of it was not needed. Some was however. I can understand some depiction of the gore so as to bring about a strong contrast with who the killers are, how they look, how they act, how innocent they seem, and how they fool the police, especially the main detective (Suk-kyu Han).

This picture is a neo-noir, and it has not one but two femme fatales. It is also the case that some of the murder victims were not innocent either. Han is taken in by these bad females who look and act entirely innocent.

The story is told in a subtle way without lots of obvious clues or exposition, even explanations of what the police are doing or where they're going. This will fool most or many viewers into being taken in as were the police. However, by the same token, a good many clues are given out and one can feel what's happening. The plotting behind-the-scenes by the killers is clever. This is a battle of wits, and the killers are one step ahead most of the time. In police work, emotions and pre-conceived ideas can interfere with logic and seeing beneath the surface to what's going on.

The movie got tedious for me somewhere after its mid-point before again picking up steam. All in all, though, it's another example of the vitality of the Korean crime genre at that time. In fact, this movie from 1999 was was possibly one of the first of a bunch of others from about 2000 to 2010.

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Somewhat confusing

Author: Daniel Vazquez from United Kingdom
12 July 2005

This film is quite interesting. Most of what I would like to say has already been said. It certainly isn't one of the best Korean movies I've seen.

My main complaint is that the motivation of the murderer is never made clear. Perhaps this is my fault and I missed at the hints, but I kept on wondering why the murderer would kill these people and rip up their bodies. Still, it soon seemed quite obvious who the murderer would be (my wife guessed after about 20 minutes). And this was the largest problem with the film: the film is beautifully shot, well acted, well told, but you still can't work out the murderer's motivation or empathise with her.

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really surprising movie

Author: JoJo-103 from Berlin, Germany
17 August 2000

I've seen this movie on the "fantasyfilmfest 2000" in Berlin. Although seeing a lot of thrillers, gore and other genre films, I was surprised by this very good film. It really tells you something: never trust your first impression!

If you get the chance - go in this movie. Its a must.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Disjointed serial killer outing

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
7 October 2012

TELL ME SOMETHING is a South Korean serial killer thriller, as dark and depraved as you've expect from the genre following on from the success of Fincher's SE7EN in the mid 1990s. The movie charts the adventures of a detective on the hunt for a seriously warped psychopath who leaves bin bags full of body parts lying around in various parts of the city; in an outlandishly gory set-piece early on, one of the bin bags explodes in a lift full of commuters, scattering limbs, a head and a great deal of blood everywhere.

It sounds mean and nasty and it is, with the grubby atmosphere working just fine. But as the story goes on, TELL ME SOMETHING commits a cardinal sin for this genre: there's little to no detective work going on. Characters meet and leads are followed through contrivance or coincidence rather than the painstaking putting-together of clues, and as a result the narrative drops down to a snail's pace. The movie subsequently follows the route of having the detective meeting a mysterious femme fatale linked to all the murders and from that point in it's a whodunit as the viewer strives to work out who the killer is.

The film is an odd mix of effective scenes and boring scenes. There's a lack of narrative drive to the storyline which saps away a lot of the entertainment value it should have built up, but on the other hand the grisly scenes do stick in the mind. The cast don't really make much of an impact, the characters are never fully explored and of them all, only Eun-ha Shim's sinister leading lady sticks in the mind, recalling in some ways the villainess of Takashi Miike's outrageous AUDITION. In the end it feels overlong and a twist ending is predictable rather than surprising. Try THE CHASER if you want to see the Koreans do this kind of thing perfectly.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Tries to be bleak but ends up being a little too dull.

Author: shadowman123 from United Kingdom
3 September 2007

I am a huge fan of foreign cinema and it is no secret that we are all going looking abroad for a good thrill or scare with the Japanese and Koreans leading the way, I mean if you want further proof then check out Battle Royale and Oldboy but unfortunately they have fallen short with this one. From the cover and recent reviews people have given this good reviews and I was very looking forward to watching this but unfortunately it just did not take off well enough for me. Tell Me Something is a gruesome tail of a lunatic that seems to kill people by cutting them up and mixing parts of their bodies together leading police on a puzzler rather than a wild goose chase. Leading the investigation of this is an officer that is being investigated him-self for corruption .... now normally Asian thrillers move on at a quick pace and we are introduced to our main characters and their woes as the film moves along at a nice pace but however this time round the film seems to take a very long time focusing on character development with a stubborn officer who is trying to suss things out between spots of doing a little bit of detective work ! The movie kind of trundles along a little to slowly and although thats not really a bad thing, it tries to make its-self bleak and but instead ends up becoming dull and the good use of camera angles don't help it out at all. However it does kind of redeem its-self as it does not truly rely on shock value but it kind of becomes easy to piece things together but then it becomes rushed towards the end with little or no explanation offered for all that. To conclude Tell Me Something is a bit like a Lamborghini Gallardo, for the out-side you want one, but then when you actually drive it you find out that it is no all what it was you would hope it would but because it was a Lambo you went along for the ride anyway! Thats how I felt about Tell Me Something, a thriller made by a nation which has a reputation for making great films but instead they just give us something very average which does not really seem to cut the mustard.



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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

good pieces don't add up to a good whole

Author: dbborroughs from Glen Cove, New York
26 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When the pieces of bodies begin to be found around the city in cars and in plastic bags, a cop with money problems is put in charge of the case. It soon becomes clear that the parts found are from different people and that the killer seems to be mixing and matching leading to the unhappy conclusion that more victims are in the offing. As the investigation progresses it becomes clear that all of the victims seem to have been ex-lovers of one girl. As the detective interviews the girl, and asks her to "tell me something..." her story begins to emerge... I had heard good thing about this film and was looking forward to seeing it since I had read it was a good thriller. On a lot of levels it is quite good with some great sequences and some good performances, but at 2 hours the film seems to drift to nowhere or perhaps heading to a conclusion that is the guessed at the outset. Twists and turns aside (some of which didn't make a great deal of sense to me) I had a really good idea who was behind it at the start. While I like a good number of the films "set pieces" for lack of a better word, I didn't find it all that special. Worth a look see for those who love thrillers for the good piece

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Stylish, intense and quite gory Korean police thriller

Author: LouE15 from United Kingdom
29 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must be the last to realise that Korean cinema is simply the freshest, most exciting and challenging cinema being made anywhere today. "Tell Me Something" illustrates beautifully some of the ways in which this is true. Starting with the time-honoured police thriller format, the way in which the drama plays out couldn't be more different from your average excellent but formulaic episode of "The Closer" or "Without a Trace"; as in much Korean cinema, the presumption of intelligence in the viewer means that far from being walked through every plot point, you tread the lonely road of clues and suspicion by yourself. Doubtless other viewers will predict the plot points with superhuman speed...still, I enjoy the spectacle even when I'm mystified.

It feels as though the director has gorged himself on the full gamut of cinema, taking in not only his own cinema but glossy but predictable Hollywood and glorious, violent Japanese cinema. There's nothing more refreshing than to see a structure you recognise, used to portray a world you don't. It gives new life to any old, tired story or scenario – better still when it's harsh and good-looking and violent and surprising, like this. Here's a very brief run-down: an artist's daughter, some lovers, some murders, dismemberment. Your guide through this murky world is Detective Cho (Suk-kyu Han), who stumbles along the policeman's dirty path, labouring under suspicion and dishonour. You learn that his impassive taciturnity conceals more complex emotions, and you accompany him as he unpicks a messy, bloody and tangled knot of relationships and lies, seeking redemption along the way.

It's romantic at heart. Detective Cho reminds me of Dana Andrews' terse, detached detective McPherson, in Otto Preminger's haunting "Laura" of 1944. That tough character finds himself lifted by the aura created by the eponymous central character of Laura into an unfamiliar realm, falling in love with her as he begins to know her. The comparison ends there – "Tell Me Something" has a finale that suits very modern tastes. I'm knee deep in Dashiell Hammett at the moment, but this is really more James Ellroy territory. It's a bit gory for my taste, but not strictly speaking gratuitous, I think. Even if it were, it would still be engrossing and disturbing, crafted with care and with a fantastic soundtrack.

For more Korean excellence try gripping thriller "Memories of Murder" or the exquisitely turned "Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring". For other non-US excellence go for French TV policier "Engrenages" and Takeshi Kitano's unique Japanese gangster flick "Sonatine".

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Another entry from the Korean Cinema of the incomprehensible

Author: livinatthemovies from upstate ny
20 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this movie after having watched A Tale of Two Sisters, another movie that required cliff notes, mostly because of my interest in Jung-ah Yum (the step-mother in Tale of Two Sister). Unfortunately Jung-ah's talents are mostly wasted in this film, although she does a good job with what she has.

The film itself seems to confuse complex with clever plotting. Plus there are some annoying reality lapses...Starting with Detective Cho, not only unwillingness to consider Chea a suspect, but actually giving her his gun? Also Chea's friend Seungmin was another obvious suspect (her surgical talents, her early ties to Chea) that somehow was overlooked - until the end of course.

Still and all, not a terrible movie...It relies on a bunch of the cliques of the genre; the femme fatale, the 'buddy' cop who gets killed, the unrelenting rain...But it does a credible job with the material. Could have been a particularly gruesome Raymond Chandler story set in LA, which is both good and bad since Chandler's novels also relied on some complex plots. Don't believe me? Rent The Big Sleep and try following that movie.

So a 6 for the decent acting, and consistent film noir tone.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Tell me something

Author: PeterRoeder from Lyngby, Denmark
30 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


After having viewed this movie, I don´t think it ranks with other recent Asien horror movies like "Audition" and "The Ring". It´s rather a b-movie which have been put together very quickly. For example, there´s a scene where the older cop pours coffee to his friend, and it´s obvious that he hardly hits the cup - so his friend wasn´t supposed to have any coffee anyway? Or maybe this was the best scene with a terrible actor? There are other similar flaws and logical impossibilities. Other than that I think it is very intelligent. More intelligent than Se7en probably although Se7en is a far better movie of course. The plot, however ridicolous and illogical in terms of human psychology challenges the viewer very much. A lot of thought must have been put into it. I just have a problem with the female killers. In other Asien horror movies like "The Ring" and "Uninvited" the female criminals have some kind of reason for the behaviour. In "Tell Me Something" people just kill because killing is "natural" apparently. Maybe the main character and all other persons in the movie were serial killers as well? It doesn´t seem to be abnormal in this movie.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Whodunnit --- Korean Style

Author: elwoodblues87 from Out in the deep blue ocean
29 August 2004

First and foremost I'm a babe in the woods when it comes to watching these Asian Thriller/Horror movies, being a recent convert to the cause.

The movie is your traditional WHODUNNIT, but with a Korean Twist. With Hollywood movies you usually find out near the beginning who did it, and then watch the movie evolve to trap the person(s).

In Tell Me something you start with some horrific, even macambe killings, of which could only come out of Asia (Hollywood would be too afraid of a NC-17 rating).

Now the chase is on, WHODUNNIT?? As with most whodunnits, we are given a lead character who may have done it.. but not really sure. Just to confuse everyone, lets throw in a few other characters that MIGHT have done it too.

Some of them are far TOO obvious, or is it?

The movie approaches the climax and the killer is caught.. but in a true non hollywood approach, the movie doesn't end. We're thrown a HUGE twist to wrap things up.

It wanders a bit at times but will keep you hooked through the entire movie.

A must watch

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