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Review: Korean thriller film 'MIDNIGHT'

By jillene  /  23 Jul 2021 (Friday)

I watched the latest South Korean thriller film, Midnight, and felt every possible emotion on the spectrum. Here's my review of the emotional rollercoaster ride of a film.

To ease you onto this ride, here’s some background..

Midnight is a South Korean thriller that follows deaf girl Kyeong-mi, as she leads serial killer, Do-sik, on a wild goose chase all because she was an ill-fated witness to Do-sik’s brutal assault on So-Jung. As karma has it, So-Jung was a scapegoat for Kyeong-mi’s mother.

The film stars actress Jin Ki-joo who plays Kyeong-mi. Alongside her is veteran actress Gil Hae-yeon – best known for portraying mothers in the films and television shows she's been in – who slips into yet another role as a mother, specifically Kyeong-mi’s in this film. The antagonist, psychopathic serial killer Do-sik, is played by Wi Ha-joon; with Kim Hye-yoon as So-Jung, a playful and lovable sister to Jong-tak, played by Park Hoon.

Now let’s unpack the film.

Midnight may have been infuriating at times but it was also as heart-warming as it was terrifying.

Gil Hae-yeon as Kyeong-mi-s mother (Left); Jin Ki-joo as Kyeong-mi (Right)

Because Kyeong-mi and her mother were both deaf, they were in a dangerous and unfair disadvantage with their fight against Do-sik. I was ironically screaming for them in their largely silent battle, out of sheer terror and frustration due to their missed opportunities.

Writer and director, Kwon Oh-seung, definitely did not neglect the beautiful and exceptional bond between mother and daughter. Living in a world not made for their differences, they band together to form a parent-child relationship that feels like a nice warm mug of tea on a chilly evening. It’s just unfortunate to see this gift being robbed from them.

Wi Ha-joon as Do-sik

Do-sik is a master manipulator, keyword: master. Ha-joon's performance as the antagonist really wowed me as his character genuinely filled me with rage as I watched this archetypal psychopath repeatedly get away in plain sight. At almost every point, he was framed as anything but the criminal to the general public. Even as he viciously chases Kyeong-mi down a busy street!

Kim Hye-yoon as So Jung-eun
All of Do-sik's victims, placed in a catch-22 situation, faced the test of humanity – If you had to choose between saving a loved one’s life over an acquaintance’s life, which would it be? The former seems like the obvious answer until you have to look the latter in the eye and tell them you’re letting them die. The struggle between self-preservation and empathy was excellently illustrated.

Honourable mention:

The authentic portrayal of the deaf community as an integral part of society and the discrimination they face was well executed. Both mother and daughter's expressiveness and the beauty of sign language was wonderfully demonstrated in the film.
If you’re looking for a thriller that is rather well-rounded, this is just the film for you. Midnight will be made available on Singtel and Starhub VOD service from 1 August!

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