Review: South Korean female director, Lee Soo-youn (The Untitled) showcases her admiration to Alfred Hitchcock as she borrows the auteur’s cinematic style to present her later thriller, Bluebeard. It’s a story about a divorced colonoscopist who recently moved to neighborhood dubbed as ‘the mecca of serial killing’ only to find himself tangled in a new chain of serial killings.
Aside from the Hitchcockian aesthetic, there’s nothing apparently new to offer in this thriller. The story can be manipulative at some times as it relies heavily on its barely reliable narrator, dr. Seung-hoon (Jo Jin-woong), along with sudden blackouts, rough cuts, and repetitive dream sequences. Bluebeard’s visual can sometimes be deceitful, too, as it plays with perspective. However, tensions are pumped up effectively in the beginning and kept consistently jolting out as we are following the protagonist’s self-realization upon entering a dark web of murders. Jin-woong consistently presents us a convincing portrayal of an unreliable narrator until the consistency falters by the middle of the middle act.
The film’s third act re-introduces Bluebeard as a ‘whole different’ story with multi-layered twist, which either amuses you or frustrates you. The ‘main’ twist is simply predictable if you’re keen enough to follow the messed-up thread; and the film’s over-exposition to the ‘truth’ behind the twist doesn’t help either. Fortunately, the film’s encore—with additional twists—ends Bluebeard in a new light.
In the end, Soo-youn’s Bluebeard could still make a stylish Hitchcockian thriller, whose manipulative nature can be frustrating in positive and negative way.