I have always been a big fan of Korean cinema, particularly those in the romantic and thriller genres. On the other side, movies in Indian cinema are more in the category of masala with music and wholesome entertainment. So, whenever I hear about some thriller or horror in Indian cinema, I tend to dig more into its connection to any other world cinema. The recently released Amitabh Bachchan starrer TE3N (Teen) has been getting mixed responses from movie buffs, and this film is a remake of the Korean movie Montage (2013).
The storylines of both films are almost similar with some modifications in characterization. Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta the movie has some of the finest Bollywood stars in action that includes Mr. Bachchan, Vidya Balan, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Nevertheless, as I’m yet to watch the Hindi film, here I’ll rather talk about the original Korean film Montage.
The movie follows a kidnapper and the victim’s family along with the investigating officers who are for the last 15 years desperate to find clues to get to the criminal and his intent. As time brings everyone to a point where everybody has to now move on as the case’s statute of limitations expires, someone anonymously leaves a flower at the crime scene. And a few days later another kidnapping takes places with same old fashion. The victim is yet again a kid.
In common legal terminology, the ‘statute of limitations’ indicates the maximum time limit for a case to be under investigation. When the time limit ends without any conclusive evidence, the case can’t be brought forward to the court. This varies from country to country and can be even reduced (or extended) to ensure a fair trial. Here in the case of South Korea, the period is 15 years. [Wikipedia]
Montage has three characters: Ha-kyeong, the mother of the dead girl, detective Cheong-ho with a guilty conscience for not finding out the killer, and the kidnapper with his own secrets. These three strong characters shape a great plot that even runs a notch higher with an exceptional narrative structure. The movie is fast-paced and thrilling which comes with clever twists at the end.
As we get introduced to these traumatized characters who try to get to the bottom of the criminal intent before it’s too late, we need to be alert watching the parallel narratives: one led by the investigating officers and the disturbed families/parent of the victim, and other being a multi-dimensional outlook which deals with the same characters and their emotional injuries, but with a common thread – the kidnapper.
Both the lead actors Uhm Jung-hwa, as the mother of the child, and Kim Sang-kyung – the policeman assigned to the case played their parts really well. They had to play two completely devastated personalities as a result of the incident and it’s a treat to watch such performances. Without revealing much about the connection between the two cases and how the movie creates an atmosphere of mystery, I must say that the director of Montage Jeong Keun-seob very smartly kept his characters up front to deliver such a grim thriller.
I must come back to review the Bollywood (Hindi) version of Montage i.e. TE3N (Teen – translates to English as ‘Three’) and see how the movie has justified the Korean original. Till then try to catch both the films and send me your feedback.