Saturday, November 28, 2009
Princess Aurora (Orora Gongju)
Princess Aurora was released in 2005 under the Korean title Orora Gongju. The film follows a skilled Korean detective who is studying to be a minister, a mysterious woman who goes on a killing spree and a bevy of other baddies who happen to cross paths with the sadistic killer. The killings don't appear to be random, so why common thread ties the victims together? That is the question that keeps viewers watching until the end.
I am familiar with the work of Korean Director Park (who had an excellent film titled Old Boy), but do not recall having previously seen anything by Director Eun-jin Bang. I enjoy Korean films, in spite of the sub-titles, which sometimes take away from the visually appealing aspects of Korean film. Because of my affinity for this particular genre, I hoped that Bang would produce a film I would enjoy. He did. Not quite up to the same standard as Old Boy, which had a stronger visual element and graphic novel type storyline. Princess Aurora is more your standard psychological thriller, where you try and get inside the head of killer to figure out what is going on. In that endeavor, this film succeeds in telling an interesting and somewhat unique story.
We pick up the action in Princess Aurorawith a brutal gore-dripping homicide in the ladies room at a department store. An inexperienced detective is mentored along in the investigation by a sage investigator named Detective Oh Sung-ho (Seoung-kun Mun). The department store murder is the first in a series, which are linked together by stickers left at the scene of the crimes of a cartoon character named Princess Aurora. We know the killer. She is Jung Sun-jung (Jeong-hwa Eom). We follow her around as she marks her next targets, and watch as she employs unique methods for delivering their last breath. What we don't know are her motives or her relationships to other characters in the film. These revelations are pieced out to viewers as the film progresses. Although the pacing could be picked up at times and the plot seems a little jerky, the story was interesting and somewhat unique.
Because this is a Korean film, I am not familiar with the cast. That can good, because I can go in without any preconceived ideas or stereotypes regarding the actors. I thought that the female lead was convincing as this films killer. She had an odd combination of ruthless killer and charming introvert. I thought she pulled it off well. Her interactions with the other characters were convincing and fun to watch. Our male lead also does a good job of balancing his role and the chemistry he has with the other characters. The cast was excellent.
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