Dr. Seung-hoon sedates his landlord before medical check-up, when the old man begins telling him a convincing murder confession.Dr. Seung-hoon sedates his landlord before medical check-up, when the old man begins telling him a convincing murder confession.Dr. Seung-hoon sedates his landlord before medical check-up, when the old man begins telling him a convincing murder confession.
The story revolves around a young doctor who has recently been starting to work in a clinic in a suburb of Seoul that is infamous for its numerous serial killer cases. The young doctor doesn't seem to have the best relationship with his divorced wife, fails to bond with his progressively estranged son, has socially awkward behavior, is constantly overworked and lives in a very small apartment due to serious financial problems. One day, he overhears his anesthetized patient and landlord mumbling about decapitating a human being. When the torso of a woman is found in a river a few days later, the doctor immediately suspects his aged landlord and his awkward son to be partners in crime and a duo of dangerous serial killers. The young doctor starts investigating independently, thus putting himself in great danger.
On the positive side, the movie oozes with a mysterious and almost surreal atmosphere from start to finish. The settings are sinister and at times claustrophobic. Lead actor Cho Jin-woong does an incredibly convincing performance as shy doctor who is gradually losing control of everything around him. The movie includes a few nightmarish dream sequences that are visually stunning and flirt with the horror genre. The simple but creepy soundtrack blends in perfectly. The story is intriguing enough to keep you watching until the lengthy resolution unfolds.
On the negative side, the film has a slow and sluggish pace. One expects the film to shift into faster gear at a certain point but this just never happens. Some of the minor twists are somewhat predictable, as most of them simply turn out to be nightmares which isn't too creative. The resolution overstays its welcome and tries to surprise with a double twist. This only works when a movie is thoroughly thought through like the brilliant A Tale of Two Sisters but Bluebeard is filled with incongruities and leaves you scratching your head rather than being amazed by a clever plot.
In the end, Bluebeard is worth your attention if you like slow-paced atmospheric psychological thrillers that challenge you to think along. However, the movie overuses its plot twists which end up being confusing or even nonsensical. Genre fans can give it a try but if you aren't too familiar with Korean thrillers yet you should watch A Tale of Two Sisters, Memories of Murder and I Saw the Devil before giving this one a try.
- Oct 15, 2018