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Written by Chi-Leung Law

Directed by Susan Chan

Running Time: 1:28

Rated R

C+
Written and Directed
by Ji-woon Kim

Running Time: 2:02

Rated R

B


In Koma the story revolves around the old urban legend of waking up in a bathtub full of ice, with your kidney being removed. A young woman, Chi Ching, discovers a body and is able to finger Suen Ling as the woman she saw skulking around the room. But it turns out the two women have a connection. Suen was sleeping with Chi's boyfriend. Chi immediately feels as if Suen is stalking her, but no one believes her. And when Chi is about to become the next victim of the kidney stealer, Suen miraculously comes to her defense. But things are never quite what they seem to be in this Korean thriller, and the many twists and turns will leave you either confused or excited.

The one thing Koma has over A Tale of Two Sisters is that there is much more action. Whether or not the action makes a lot of sense is a whole other question. So many things happen in this movie that don't make a lot of sense. Friendships are formed for no apparent reason, relationships sort of come and go without much explanation. It's as if someone came up with a basic idea for a story, then they added loads and loads of things on top of it to make it confusing, because 'confusing' must mean 'artistic.' That's not to say the movie was bad. There was a lot of violence, some nudity and the movie actually looked pretty good. The actors all did their jobs well; it's not their fault the script had too many twists to make it at least partially believable. It wasn't the best Asian film I've ever seen, but it wasn't the worst either. Worth a look, especially if you can't find A Tale of Two Sisters or Oldboy aren't available.

Speaking of A Tale of Two Sisters, here you have a movie that's short on action, but high on psychological thrills. Of course the story here is even more confusing and I'll admit, I had to go to a few message boards to get some idea of what actually happened. Apparently it takes multiple viewings of the movie to really understand everything. At its most basic point, A Tale of Two Sisters is about two sisters who come home after a stay at a hospital, to live with their father and stepmother. We're not really sure what happened to their real mom, but from how they react to the stepmom, it seems their father had an affair with her. The girls hate their new stepmom, and the feeling is very mutual. But strange things happen in the house, and there appears to be a ghost wandering around the house. But whose ghost is it?

The real story is much more in depth and confusing and like I said, I had to go read some message boards to figure it out. I don't want to ruin this for people who want to solve the mysteries on their own so I'll just talk about something other than plot. I thought the acting was well done, especially by the two girls. The more outgoing of the two had a wicked personality that was enjoyable to watch. She went from angry to sad to sarcastic in the blink of an eye. The overall look of the movie was very dark and mysterious, which added to the tension. The story moved along very slowly, almost to the point of falling asleep, but at the halfway point, certain things are revealed that make you go, 'what the hell?' and suddenly you're glued to see what happens next. Unfortunately, the movie keeps you at an arms length, even to the final bell so you never completely understand what's happening, or what just happened, but it does allow you to come up with your own interpretations. Whether you're right or wrong doesn't really matter I suppose, as long as you come away feeling like you had a good time.

So overall, Koma and A Tale of Two Sisters are both entertaining, for different reasons. Koma knocks you out with action, but a story that, while easily figured out, doesn't make a lot of sense, while A Tale of Two Sisters hits you on a psychological tilt, with a story that on its surface seems easy enough, but deep down is very twisted. When you're done watching both, track down a few message boards and see if your feelings match up with the rest of the world.

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Koma

$22.49 DVD

A Tale of Two Sisters

$18.74 DVD

Ju-on (The Grudge)

$19.98 DVD

Ringu

$17.99 DVD
reviewed 04/22/05

© 2005 Wolfpack Productions

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