Juhong Geulshi (The Scarlet Letter) Reviews
RIP Lee Eun-ju.
Like the reviewer before me said; a sad, sad story with no winners. I still can't forget the "trunk scene".
If you have a soft heart, I warn you..
This movie, just like its photogenic suicide actress, is also an incredible mess. The plot is gripping for the first 70 minutes, but then decides that "it's too hard" to actually come up with an ending, so it mixes in lesbianism and a car trunk to conveniently dispose of all the loose ends. Ugh, lazy filmmaking again from Koreans. Can you people make something that's neither a rehash of My Sassy Girl or just plain bad melodramas? Probably not huh?
This erotic thriller was light on the thrill and heavy on the erotic for a korean film. It centers around an asshole cop who is having an affair on his pregnant wife with his pregnant girlfriend. Meanwhile, he finds himself getting rapt in the drama of a woman suspected of murdering her husband.
This turns out to be a red herring as we discover by the end that things are exactly what they seem although she is not to be brought to justice... her part in the story is merely to bookend the piece and leave the audience feeling empty inside.
The real story here is the personal life of this jerky cop and his two lovers. Ultimately we discover that his wife and girlfriend were secret lovers. They only chose to be with him so they could be closer to each other... well, that's part of the story.
The movie climaxes in a very controversial scene that I'll do my best to describe... Our cop friend takes his girlfriend out on a drive to get away from it all after they are found out by his wife. She's hoping he'll leave his wife for her and he's trying to figure out how to dump her. The pull off the road and park in front of a lake where they start to talk and then fool around.
Kissing, they fall into the trunk and she closes the lid behind them. It starts out funny to them, but then gets serious as they realize help isn't coming. It's claustrophobic and fairly intense as they talk and cry and panic and struggle to get out. After a few days, she wants to kill herself (he does it for her) - but not before saying "you've pissed and shit yourself and you still want to live?" (hilarious). He spends two more days in the trunk with her corpse covered in her blood (and his own shit and piss apparently) and comes out still an asshole, but no longer a cop or a husband.
I think people have a problem with this scene because they know that you can exit a trunk through the back seat. Well, assume this is a cop car that's been modified for whatever reason and the seats don't fold down from the trunk area.
The girl who played the girlfriend actually killed herself shortly after this film was released.
So is it good? Well, it's very competent filmmaking. I found the acting to be pretty good as well. The only real issue is with the story. It's a good story, but it requires the audience to forgive a lot and you also need to be able to accept a downer ending. It's worth watching, but there are definitely better films out there.
As for the second half, things get ridiculous when the detective and his mistress are sitting on the back bumper of his car, fall and accidentally lock themselves in the trunk... for the rest of the movie, which seemed both completely random and totally unnecessary.
Sadly, Eun-Ju Lee's steamy scenes were ill-received by her family and she killed herself shortly after it's release.