Based on action killings that occurred between 1986 & 1991, South Korean rural cops Park (Song Kang-ho) & Cho (Kim Roe-ha) assisted by Seo a cop from Seoul (Sang-kyung Kim) are in pursuit of their nation's first "modern" serial killer.
It is not the usual sort of crime story because their attempt to track down the killer is bound by historical fact to fail.
The film becomes much more about the state of mind of Park & Seo, rural & city detectives respectively. The rural cop is convinced old-fashioned footwork (& torturing suspects) solves crimes. The city cop believes in physical clues & documentation because "documents don't lie."
As their spirits sink into themselves over their failure to solve the ongoing & horrifically brutal rape-murders, the rural cop comes more & more to trust in criminal science, & the scientifically minded cop no longer trusts documentation but is driven to the verge of assassinating an innocent suspect he refuses to believe is innocent.
The polish & beauty of Korean films of recent years has been a revelation, & this is one of the best of the best. The combination of high tragedy & off-kilter bleak dark humor is kept in perfect balance, & the performance especially by Song Kang-ho is simply breathtaking.
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