AsianMovieWeb logo
Bloody Innocent - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Sal-in-eui Kang

South Korea 2009

Mystery, Thriller

Kim Dae-hyeon

Kim Da-hyeon
Sin Seong-rok
Hwang In-yeong
Lee Do-hyeong
Jeong Se-in
Lee David

Search AsianMovieWeb

Bloody Innocent

aka River of Murder, aka Murder River

Story: In 1985 Seung-ho and Dong-sik are good friends and attend middle school. They have both fallen in love with the girl Myeong-hee, but suddenly her lifeless body is found on the road. The police are without a clue and in their eyes every middle school student could be the killer, especially Seung-ho is among their subjects since his umbrella has been found at the crime scene of the murder. Eventually, the police arrests the mentally handicapped brother of Dong-sik who apparently has committed the crime. Dong-sik isn't able to stay in the small town after these events any longer and leaves.
Six years later Seung-ho (Kim Da-hyeon) is a student activist and is arrested by the police. In jail he meets Dong-sik's brother again and confronts him. Shortly after the inmate commits suicide. Dong-sik (Sin Seong-rok) doesn't care about what Seung-ho asked his brother, he is still more interested in getting to know why his friend's umbrella has been found next to Myeong-hee's body. The scars of the past still severely affect the two young men...

Review: Mystery crimes always have something fascinating about them, but often enough it seems difficult creating the right atmosphere. In this respect "Bloody Innocent" isn't cutting such a bad figure. But that's not the movie's problem. Rather it's an amateurish written screenplay that features one or two nice ideas but apart from that lacks any coherence. On several occasions the movie misses falling apart by a whisker. Furthermore, it is pretty difficult in the beginning to warm to the characters. This may in fact change in the course of the story, which is mainly the effort of two convincing actors, but it isn't enough to iron out the mystery flick's obvious flaws. Hardcore thriller fans may still want to take a look.

Bloody Innocent - Film Screenshot 11

Kudos have to be given to capturing the several decades in the right light, though. Be it the more washed-out coloring, the clothes or the music (especially one certain song burns itself into your head during the movie), there was some great effort put into it. Accordingly, the sloppy camera work leaves an even more negative impression. Too often the camera is too close to events, particularly during some of the few fist fights. By the way, they are really a pain to watch, that's just how amateurish they have been put into action. However, the directing isn't that bad actually. Unspectacular, but appropriate in respect to the events. If it weren't for the camera work at times which is hard to excuse as needs to be stressed. Still, the biggest flaw is the narration.

Bloody Innocent - Film Screenshot 12

"Bloody Innocent" jumps through several decades. At an average the movie jumps through the story from 1985 to 2002 in five-year-steps. Of course this means that there is only little time to stay in the respective timeline. Because of that the film often is about to fall apart. At least the filmmakers somehow accomplished that the characters undergo development over time. That is appealing, especially since the murder at the beginning is still dominating the life of the two men years later, even if sometimes it is just inwardly. Moreover, the two good actors manage to cancel out the mystery thriller's amateurish feel at times and towards the end there is even a very emotional scene that easily would have fit into a better movie qualitywise.

So you wouldn't expect it anymore at that point, but "Bloody Innocent" turns out to be occasionally affecting as well. Seung-ho and Dong-sik are both dealing with the same pain in a completely different way and their lives take turns into opposite directions. That's exciting to watch, but at some point it doesn't offer any material to work with anymore either. Strangely enough the search for the killer clearly stands in the foreground but you never really believe that the killer's identity will be revealed. Parallels to "Memories of Murder" are too obvious, particularly in the introduction in respect to the secluded town and police detectives who are approaching the case in everything but an analytical and professional manner. Therefore, it also doesn't help the film that it seems to try measuring up with Bong Joon-ho's little masterpiece.

Bloody Innocent - Film Screenshot 13

At first the narration is quite irritating. There are numerous flashbacks and you never really know where or when events are taking place. There even seems to be a flashback within a flashback. At the beginning that is simply too much to mentally process. All in all the story isn't told thrillingly enough either. You will be looking in vain for some mystery in this mystery story, too, and even though "Bloody Innocent" breaks the shackles of its mediocrety every now and then with some pretty effective scenes, you can't deny that there are simply too many severe flaws when it comes to the narration for this mystery thriller to deserve a serious recommendation. Consequently, this is a movie that didn't get much attention for a reason.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Bloody Innocent - Yesasia Yesasia Logo