Combustible Celluloid
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With: Park Jin-hee, Seo Young-hee, Lim Jung-eun, Jun Hae-jin
Written by: Kim Meejeung, Choi Sun-hwan
Directed by: Kim Meejeung
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Korean, with English subtitles
Running Time: 113
Date: 10/18/2007

Shadows in the Palace (2008)

2 Stars (out of 4)

A Report from SFIFF

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: It sounds like a great idea: a historical, Korean murder mystery (with "CSI" elements). During the Chosun Period, a woman is found hanging from the rafters in her room, but an autopsy reveals that she was actually murdered. The court nurse (Park Jin-hee) tries to figure out whodunit and uncovers a vast court conspiracy going all the way up to the Queen Mother. Directed by Kim Mee-jeung, the film is sumptuously photographed, but completely incomprehensible. Kim fails to differentiate flashbacks from the present day, and it's difficult to tell characters apart; actors go around wearing the exact same outfits with the exact same hairstyles. Sometimes characters are deliberately kept in shadow, further confusing the issue. Still, if you're patient and curious, the film at least delivers some cheap thrills and gore from time to time.

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