The Chronicles of Evil is Park Seo Joon‘s debut movie that garner him a nomination for Best New Actor from this year’s Daejong and Blue Dragon Awards. He did not win, but it piqued my interest to see how well he performed in it. And I was pleasantly surprised that I quite enjoy the whole thing. The movie is led by veteran actor Son Hyun Joo (Three Days) with supporting actors Ma Dong Suk (Bad Guys), Choi Daniel (Big Man), and Park Seo Joon (She Was Pretty).
If you fancy mystery crime thriller, or just fancy Park Seo Joon, then this may just be the movie for you 😀
Korean Title: 악의 연대기
Director: Baek Woo Hak
Release Date: May 14, 2015
The movie opens up with policemen arresting a man, whilst the man’s son begs the polices not to take away his father. The camera zooms in on the crying boy in the rain, as he narrates: “I am the son of a murderer.”
Present day. After a promotion, Detective Choi Chang Shik (Son Hyun Joo) goes out for a celebratory drink with his subordinates. He dozes off on his way home in the taxi, and finds himself taken to a remote mountain by the taxi driver. The taxi driver then pulls out a knife and attacks him. The two struggle, and Detective Choi manages to kill the man in self defense. As he was about to file a police report, he gets a call from the upper-management reminding him he is not to have any incident happening that would negatively impact his career. He then decides to cover the crime scene and flees.
A day later, the dead man’s body was found strung up on a crane facing directly at the police station, and Detective Choi is assigned to solve the case ASAP due to mass media attention. At the crime scene, his subordinate Detective Oh (Ma Dong Suk) discover the taxi at the contruction site, where the dead body has been found; and rookie detective Cha Dong Jae (Park Seo Joon) found an evidence that links Detective Choi to the murder. This sparks Dong Jae’s suspicion, but he decides to hide the evidence.
Detective Choi pretends to lead the team investigation, but secretly remove evidence, and cold-heartedly shoots a possible suspect. However, before the shooting, the man has revealed to Detective Choi that he was only doing someone else’s bidding, and that he is not the murderer. The police later uncover that the man shot by Detective Choi is a drug addict. With these information, he secretly conducts his own investigation to find out the person behind this whole set-up.
Dong Jae’s suspicion grows deeper, and he decides to recover the evidence Detective Choi remove. Dong Jae then tells Detective Choi he will wait, and believes that Detective Choi will solve this wisely. He then leaves the evidences he finds with Detective Choi.
As he is close to figuring out who the mastermind is, a man turns himself in, declaring he is the killer. This man identifies himself as Kim Jin Gyu (Choi Daniel), the son of a murderer, an old case Detective Choi handled in the past. It is then revealed that this whole thing is linked back to the old case handled by a number of policemen, as they fabricated evidences and falsely accused Kim Jin Gyu’s father of murder.
This movie could have been more enjoyable, if my hands hadn’t been itchy, and decided to jump-click through the movie before I sit down and watch the whole thing. Sigh. It was stupid. The good thing is I jumped big portions of it, and even though I saw the biggest spoiler, I have no clue how the story got there. Thus, there is still some mysteries left for me to uncover as I watch. LOL. Now that I have confessed my sin, let’s move on to what I feel about this movie.
The running time for this movie is considered short: 1 hour 42 minutes, where movies these days generally run as long as 2 hours 30 minutes. Although I understand extending the time run the risk of losing the tension and suspense, but I would say the biggest failure is lacking narration in showing the tight relationships between certain characters. Without those backstory properly told, I find myself unconvinced, or for example, lost in a scene that is strongly suggestive of the tight bonds of two characters—so strong that one willingly sacrifice his life for the other. Were they friends, or were they lovers? Was he just being used? Why must he die too?—I don’t get the necessity of his death.
In general, I like it. Not a lot, but I like the twist in the end. I like the twist that comes with another twist. The double twists are what made this movie differ slightly with any other movies that share similar premise. But the twist is also what makes Son Hyun Joo’s character pale in the end. Even though he is the one who takes us through the story as the male lead, but in reality — his character is just one small chess piece in the grand scheme of Jin Gyu’s revenge. As the veteran actor that Son Hyun Joo is, it is no doubt he has put in his best performance, but I am disappointed that this is all there is for his character. It could have been better, just sayin’.
On the contrary, Park Seo Joon did exceedingly well, and he has chosen an interesting role to kickstart his movie career. He perfectly led the viewers on, thinking he’s just that maknae detective who may be in danger of losing his life from knowing too much. Little did we know, he plays a much bigger part in the grand scheme of it.
Kim Jin Gyu is a sad, tortured soul that I find myself pitying in the end. I don’t agree with his choice, but I get why he did it—those dirty cops deserve to be punished, and the law is not on his side; it has never been. It’s an extreme act, out of love and hate, one can argue he’s sick in the head, whilst I think it’s the only solution he can live with. I like the ending he gave himself—and that was one hell of a beautifully ending scene, too.
I can imagine the pain he goes through growing up, in guilt, and not being able to do anything with it. No one would believe him, even if he is telling the truth, that’s the saddest part. The movie never show us whether he has tried putting the past behind him, so I can only imagine he has tried, but he could not convince himself deserving a normal life in happiness. There is one thing he could live with—that is avenging his father’s death, give those cops a taste of their own medicine—and then deals with his own sin last. He was ready to pay for it, too. It seems every day he lives on for that day to eventually come. It was equally sad and beautiful. *Sobs*
In the end, Jin Gyu’s story impacted me and made me care much more about him than Detective Choi. The irony. May be because Detective Choi is no goody-goody too, and that at least he can still make up for his sins in jail.