Tell Me Something

Tell Me Something

Rating: 9/10
Year: 1999
Genre: Suspense
Director: Jang Yun-Hyun
Cast: Han Seok-Kyu, Shim Eun-Ha, Jang Hang-Sun, Yu Jung-Sang

After I have watched Christmas in August, I became a big fan of the Korean actress Shim Eun-Ha. I anticipated seeing all of her other works, and indeed I did manage to see almost all of them. Among all, I think my second favorite would be Tell Me Something.

This film belongs to the detective thriller genre with a very typical murder case plot. Several garbage bags of dismembered body parts are discovered. An investigation is led by Detective Cho (Han Seok-Kyu). He gets to know that Su-Yeon (Shim Eun-Ha) is the only connection in related to the victims. Worrying that she might become the next victim, Cho puts her under protection in his house and learns about her tragic past gradually...

I have to admit that I love this film very much, despite the resemblance it has with the Hollywood noir film Seven. Director Jang Yun Hyun knows how to build up tension and develop the right mood at the right moment. Starting from the beginning of the film, we are already soaked in the dark and mysterious environment of the diegesis. The use of noir cinematography hits right at the point. It fits the atmosphere of the film perfectly. The use of classical music and pop songs like Placebo's The Crawl and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds's Red Right Hand also intensifies the horrific feeling of the whole plot. What is most remarkable is the tragic story of Su-Yeon. With Shim Eun-Ha's incredible performance and the use of Enya's Bodiceca, it is definitely the most wonderful part of the film that I love most. It is a nice demonstration of dark romance. As expected, the ending provides a surprising twist. It might not be a perfectly rational resolve, but is absolutely worth watching.

I have been watching Korean and Japanese cinema for quite a while, still, I couldn't find anyone who shares the unique charm as Shim Eun-Ha does. Her performance is incomparable. Yes, I am falling in love with her now! Compared with the passionate Darim in Christmas in August, the passive and quiet So-Yeon demonstrates a very different yet glamorous personality. Han Seok Kyu, her nice partner, is fine as well. Han has a stony face, his composure is ideal for the detective character of this film. I especially like the way he acts when the mystery is finally unveiled, his exhausted face is remarkable.

I know many people think this film is bad because the director leaves too many mysterious moments unexplained. He does not reveal the plot or the intention of the killer clearly, he rather leaves it all to the audience. The viewers have to make their own speculation. After seeing it several times, I myself have tried to answer the unexplained questions and I did come up with a logical conclusion (I posted it on CineForum). If you look closely, you will find out that some scenes that seem to be unrelated to the story are in fact the key elements to the mystery. To me, I certainly think it would be great if the director could make the story a little more explanatory, but I also love to think and reconstruct the film on my own. It is really fun to rewatch and analyze a film sometimes, especially if the film is nicely made.

No doubt Jang Yun-Hyun is a successful commercial filmmaker. Although Tell Me Something is not a very original and artistic work, his technical efficency has definitely allowed him to capture the attention of the audience wholeheartedly.

DVD (HK version) - What makes me confused about this film is that some people say it is slow-paced. To me, I don't think so at all. Every scene carries crucial information in related to the mystery. Overall, this is a nice and entertaining flick. The DVD is in good shape. The image and sound qualities are both very good. Special features include trailer, music video and photo gallery.

Cool guy(s) - Han Seok-Kyu, Shim Eun-Ha

Reviewed by: Kantorates