KOREA 2010  Directed & Written by: Jeong-Ho Lee  Produced by: Lee Song-Hyo, Baek Kyeong-Suk, Kim Won-Kuk  Cinematography by: Yeong-Hwan Choi   Editing by: Min-Kyeong Shin  Music by: Jun-Seong Kim Cast: Eom Jeong-Hwa, Ryoo Seung-Ryong, Park Sa-Rang, Lee Do-Kyeong, Jo Jin-Ung, Kim Tae-Hun, Ha Dae-Ro, Jo Hie-Bong, Oh Jeong-Se, Jung Young-Ki, Lee Seong-Min, Lee Yong-Nyeo, Choi Kang-Hee, Choi Moo-Sung

A famous novelist is being accused of plagiarism, which she vehemently denies. In the wake of the scandal she loses her reputation, her publisher and almost her mind; to get back on track she takes her daughter to the countryside and stays with her in an outlying residence: reclusive and far away from Seoul she hopes to find a good story and the strength to write another book that hopefully will clear her name and restore her fame. Once they’ve moved into the creepy house they find out that it is as creepy as it looks like from the outside: not only does a weird woman show up frequently without saying a word, it turns out that a ghost lives in the house and secretly gets in contact with her daughter.

The upside: the ghost tells her daughter a story (which would make it a ghost story I presume), and the novelist writes it down, making it her new book. As soon as she returns to the city and her book is being published new claims surface that she has yet copied another book: shocked and disgraced she tries to solve the mystery how come that without ever reading the “original” novel she has almost produced an exact copy.

I am not too fond of “internet language”, but here we go: SPOILER ALERT. BESTSELLER is built around two main plot points, the first one being that the writer doesn’t just have writer’s block, but actually suffers from amnesia: her daughter was killed in an accident a while ago, and the writer hallucinates that she’s still with her. This is not the case of cause. So far, so good (or not). It’s not as bad as the SHUTTER ISLAND deception and it works quite well for the movie as it actually prepares ground for the second big twist of the film.

Which then however is a grave disappointment and an unnecessary complication of things (trying to be too smart, eh?). In a last-minute maneuver BESTSELLER is introducing characters, events and a subplot that have never been part of the story for most of the film’s running time, which isn’t exactly transparent. It’s the kind of “honest” craft you get from David Copperfield. Now you see it, now you don’t. It’s magic.

BESTSELLER lost me as soon as I realized that I had been fooled, following the plot for nothing as it turns into a totally different story towards the end. This is the kind of unrewarding film experience that you’d like to avoid (right, Marty?). So it isn’t really comforting to know that BESTSELLER is a tense thriller, with a gripping (first) story, good acting, a nice dose of Hitchcock-flavor and well-composed visuals.

What matters after the credits start rolling is that you’ll feel utterly disappointed. Not because you’ve wasted your time, not because you were tricked, but because you actually really liked the movie up to that moment. But once the last page has been turned it becomes clear that BESTSELLER doesn’t have the qualities to make it to the top of the charts.


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One Response to “BESTSELLER [BE-SEU-TEU-SEL-LEO | 베스트셀러]”


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