“My daugther told me! You don’t have to believe me if you don’t want to!”
words: Desmond “Neo” Childs
Who was it that said, ”What we have here is a failure to communicate!”?Oh yeah, it was that jerk-warden from Cool Hand Luke. The seperated couple in BestSeller, are having problems communicating. And in an uncommon shift of roles (at least in cinema) the woman is without question the problem. Chan-sik is a famous author in the vein of J.K. Rowling; who has released her latest page-turner. Unfortunately for her, she is later accused of plagrism and watches life tailspin and then nosedive. Her publicist hasn’t lost faith in her; but thinks it would be a good idea for her to take a trip out into the country to work on her next novel. What happens is truly a unique blend of the supernatural, mysterious, and even thrilling elements into one pretty engaging piece of reel. Was it a little uneven sometimes? Yeah. For the most part though, ‘Bestseller’ delivers the goods in a exciting, “seat-of-your-pants” thriller that actually plays out like one of the main character’s novels. So in a sense it’s a little meta, but not enough to draw you out of the movie’s story. Before I dig a little more into what I thought about it, let’s take a look at the director, Jeong-ho Lee.
Believe it or not, ‘Bestseller’ is actually Mr. Jeong-ho first directorial effort. He’s primarily been either a producer or assistant director on the majority of his projects. He has assistant directed such works as ‘A Man Who Was Superman’ (2008), Skeletons in the Closest (2007), Vampire Cop Ricky (2006), and Dead Friend (2004). In regards to his style, there was only a few things that stood out; and not necessarily in a good way. First, the editing of some of the scenes made for a rushed tone early on in the movie. The scenes even out later but the initial half hour or so of the film could’ve used some of the cutting room floor scrapes added back on. For example, the relationship between the author and her “fed up” husband doesn’t seem genuine. And when the twist is revealed, their relationship seemed as if it had plenty of problems; even before the birth of their daughter.
“If you do this, I don’t want to see you again!”
I do, however, want to give credit to Mr. Jeong-Ho’s touch toward the end of the film; regarding the eerily cheerful town. As I mentioned before, the author and her daughter take a trip to a small town. Now two years removed from the allegations of plagrism; the writer is hoping to pen a novel so original, as to leave no doubt as to who truly came up with it. The town they arrive at is expecting them. Luckily for our protagonist, their welcoming her with open arms. Well, for the most part. In a pretty crafty fashion, the film slowly builds toward a long forgotten tragedy that befell the town long ago. Suddenly, the townsfolk become more suspicious to our heroine. And what about this “friend” her daughter keeps talking to? What part does the “friend” play in all this? And why is the daughter (Sa-rang Park) the only person who can talk to her friend? Sure, there is intrigue all throughout the movie, but I feel like we have to sit through a pretty rushed, conventional wash at the beginning to get to it. I will say that the end result was somewhat worth the wait. As usual, the film is available on Netflix Instant watch. For how long? I don’t know.
- Screened Visions Movie Blog: “BestSeller” (otakastnewsnetwork.wordpress.com)