November 6, 2005

DVD Review: Face

I so wanted to like this, but sadly, I don't. Face is a slow paced crime thriller with a few supernatural tidbits thrown in. Some of the ideas contained within its runtime are intriguing, yet the execution is less than exciting.

The story follows Hyun-min, a forensics expert who specializes in facial reconstruction. His daughter had a heart transplant, and his worry over her condition causes him to lose interest and leave his job. Convinced that there may be a problem with the donor heart, he seeks to track down the donor's family, despite the doctor's insistence that the heart was OK.

Meanwhile, there is a serial killer on the loose who is burning away his victim's flesh with an acid bath leaving behind nothing but their bones. The rash of murders has the desperate police seek out Hyun-min's expertise, sending a young woman to seek his help. It is at this point that some supernatural occurrences manifest. A ghostly woman with long black hair makes a variety of appearances.

Eventually a connection is made between Hyun-min, the doctor, and the murders. Everything seems to hinge on an affliction called beta-allergy. The film runs towards it's conclusion as the facts start to fall into place, and the face becomes clear.

Shin Hyun-jin gives a good performance as Hyun-min, and is the best of the actors. His face exhibits the pain associated with a having a sick child, the emotions play clearly across his face in subtle ways. None of the other performances really connected with me.

Face is slow paced and more of a crime procedural than a supernatural thriller. Whatever you want to call it, it moves along its predetermined course much to slowly. Too little happens for most of the runtime to hold my interest. Still, there is the interesting element of the facial reconstruction and the connection that is developed between killer and child. There is also a romance developed that has a certain sweetness to it.

Video. The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphically enhanced widescreen. This is not the best transfer I have ever seen. Colors are vivid and blacks are deep, but it has an overall softness to it.

Audio. Korean Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 are represented here. I listened using the Dolby Digital track. It did the job, but was not terribly spectacular.

Extras. There are a number of extras here. There are interviews with cast and crew, which have no subtitles, explain that one. There are some behind the scenes clips, which don't feature much dialogue, but provide an interesting look from behind the camera. There is also a a clip of a promotional photo shoot, that is subtitled, that shows a different side to the actors involved in the film. After the photo shoot is a still gallery. Closing out the extras are a selection of trailers for current and upcoming features from Tartan's Asia Extreme line.

Bottomline. Sadly, I did not particularly enjoy this. Similar to other films I've seen recently, there are plenty of good ideas that lose that interesting edge in translation. Slow movies do not alway s bother me, but without a strong hook to latch onto, my interest drifted. I really like the Asia Extreme line, but there are other films that are more worth your time.

Not Recommended.


Post a Comment