The basis for the thriller was a true story: the “frog boys” disappeared without trace in 1991, only eleven years later, their bones were found. Of course will all true story films as such, the case is unsolved but does unearth some startling developments. To make people be a witness of what happened 20 years ago and to be part of what emotional horror the family and everyone involved went through and still have to go through is always a haunting experience, even from a viewer who didn’t think this film was going to be anything heavy. Finally convincing local authorities that one of boys’ parents were involved, they gain permission to search the Jong’s family home. This is when the film gets its most interesting, when clues and tension start to build.
The whole cast seems authentic and confident despite minimal fluctuations. They do run into inconsistencies – even in the behavior of parents. For example, how has one of the mothers get only two months after the disappearance of her son, a call from him, and responded surprisingly calmly? Or how about when a grieving husband, meanwhile, behaves nervously? But all attempts to reopen the case again, to tear back only to painful wounds, everyone shudders to even think about it. The reason being is because everyone realizes that there is ultimately not enough evidence to prosecute any suspicious person with the statute of limitations on the case having expired.
So that element really plays a big key in the film and what makes it effective. You will stay focused from the start to the end thanks to great directing and acting. Just when you think the movie will wrap up, it will make a sudden twist and turn everything upside down. Korea once again shows how to make a great movie that is based on true events. The worst part of it all? The case to this day, is still unresolved which put a sinking feeling in this reviewers stomach. The use of film on which the director builds up, coupled with the knowledge that is behind this terrible tragedy, invokes emotions within you that can be felt long after the credits linger.
Some may argue the films ending took away from the whole mystery of the story, but I believe our protagonist is framed and the ending is left up to interpretation. Yes, this film is worth seeing in any case, but be aware it does have its various shortcomings, but never outweighs it’s strengths, so it rattles just slightly past the next higher rating. The Korean cinema audiences saw the qualities of a powerful story to tell and have applied this scenario the best possible way they could. The biggest thing this film has going for it is the gross, outlandish crimes brought upon society and what has brought the people of South Korea shock and awe, will translate through the screen into your soul as well. Thumbs up for effective filmmaking!