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Ko - production in Busan
  • In Focus: Montage
  • by Darcy Paquet /  May 30, 2013

  • Directed by
    JEONG Keun-seob
    Starring UHM Jeong-hwa, KIM Sang-kyung, SONG Young-chang, CHO Hee-bong, JEONG Hae-gyun, KEY Joo-bong, PARK Cheol-min
    Release Date May 16, 2013
    One day a police detective named Cheong-ho reluctantly visits a woman whose child was kidnapped and murdered 15 years previous. The news he brings is hard for her to stomach: in a week’s time, the statute of limitations on the crime will expire. It’s particularly painful for him to say it, because he was the detective originally put in charge of the case, and despite his best efforts, he has not been able to catch the criminal in all the years since. In a week’s time, even if they were to somehow find the criminal, they will not be able to charge him with any crime.
    However beginning the next day, events begin to unfold. A man who appears to be the criminal is captured on CCTV leaving a flower at the site of the young girl’s death. Cheong-ho leaps into action, but he has few clues at hand. Then, a number of days later, another young girl is kidnapped, and all the details of the case point to a connection with the original crime. Now, police officers from across the nation are mobilized to catch the criminal and save the young girl before it is too late.
    Every year the Korean film industry produces a significant number of thrillers. Although it’s rare for a film of this genre to ever truly break out (The Chaser from 2008 is a notable exception), good word-of-mouth occasionally pushes such works into the spotlight. Montage by director JEONG Keun-seob has enjoyed a very good start at the box office, despite competing directly with Hollywood blockbusters Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, and The Fast and the Furious 6. After two weeks the film has amassed 1.5 million admissions, and it continues to hold up well.
    Director JEONG, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, makes his feature debut with this work. He previously served as assistant director on the box office hit Hi, Dharma! (2001). His extensive cast of actors is headed by KIM Sang-kyung, whose role as a detective faced with a highly challenging crime recalls his earlier appearance in BONG Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder (2003). Opposite him in the role of the grieving mother is singer-actress UHM Jeong-hwa, who most recently scored a hit in the film Dancing Queen (2012). Their performances have been well-received, as has the film’s screenplay, which contains its fair share of twists and turns. Although unlikely to be cited in any critics’ top 10 lists at the end of the year, Montage has successfully distinguished itself from the average Korean thriller.
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