Review: MIDNIGHT FM 심야의 FM (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Review: MIDNIGHT FM 심야의 FM (2010)


Thriller about an obsessed stalker/fan is nothing new in the genre cinema, with 1996's Hollywood's THE FAN, which starred Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes, quickly came to mind. But Kim Sang-Man's much-anticipated follow-up to his 2008 debut in GIRL SCOUT, is a slickly-made accomplished thriller that benefited from an airtight script, excellent cast and top-notch suspenseful moments. To put long story short, look no further than MIDNIGHT FM, which has made quite a splash at the top of the box-office in South Korea ever since its release on October 14.

The story centers on Ko Sun-Young (Soo-Ae), a former popular TV anchorwoman and late-night radio host, who is about to make preparation for her final radio program before decided to call it a quit since she needs to take her little daughter Ko Eun-Soo (Lee Joon-Ha) for a heart surgery in U.S. But on that particular last day of her work, her sister Ko Ah-Young (Shin Da-Eun) who watched over Eun-Soo and her niece, Ko Hyeon-Ji (Choi Hee-Won) at Sun-Young's apartment gets a surprise visit by a vicious man named Han Dong-Su (Yoo Ji-Tae). Ko Ah-Young ends up being knocked unconscious and held captive by Han, while Sun-Young's daughter is hiding somewhere around the apartment. Han, who is apparently a die-hard fan of the radio show, sends a text message to Sun-Young instructing her to follow his directions and not to tell anyone about the incident. What follows next is a series of cat-and-mouse game between Sun-Young and Han where they try to outwit each other during the course of a single fateful night.

Intense is the best word described for this well-paced thriller. Writer-director Kim Sang-Man definitely knows how to build a sustainable tension that boils up as gripping as it gets. The climactic chase that leads to the discovery of her kidnapped daughter and her niece is especially heart-pounding. As for the story, there's really nothing new here but it's the electrifying depth between Sun-Young and Han Dong-Su that matters the most, particularly the disturbing nature of how far an obsessed fan would go to the limit to invade the life of a celebrity. Soo-Aee delivers a compellingly charismatic performance as the emotionally-intense Sun-Young who is willing to go over the limit to save her precious daughter. In fact her performance is so good that she is deserved a Best Actress award for the coveted 31st Blue Dragon Film Awards held in her native country. On the other side, Yoo Ji-Tae is exceptionally creepy as a psychotic fan. Production-wise, the movie is visually stunning, especially with all the hypnotic nighttime cinematography.

This is one solid South Korean thriller not to be missed.

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