Korean thriller blends glitz, crime

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Noel Mur­ray

The Korean mys­tery­thriller “Heart Black­ened” is a re­make of the 2013 Chi­nese film “Silent Wit­ness,” but nei­ther ti­tle prop­erly sells this gl­itzy and tawdry tale of crime among the su­per-rich. “Death of a Pop Star” would’ve been grab­bier. Or per­haps “Mur­der-in-law.”

Choi Min-sik stars as Im Tae-san, a cor­po­rate ti­tan about to marry the ul­ti­mate tro­phy wife: Yuna (Lee Hanui), a young singing su­per­star. When Yuna is killed un­der mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances, the au­thor­i­ties go af­ter Im’s daugh­ter Mira (Lee Soo-kyung), who’d pub­licly ex­pressed dis­gust with her would-be step­mother’s some­times-scan­dalous celebrity.

Most of “Heart Black­ened” takes place dur­ing the sen­sa­tional trial, which fea­tures twists and sur­prises ga­lore — at least one of which comes cour­tesy of an ob­sessed Yuna fan (played by Ryu Jun-yeol), who prom­ises per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion he ob­tained while stalk­ing her.

Writer-direc­tor Jung Ji­woo fol­lows too de­lib­er­ate a pace in the film’s first half and mud­dles the story with some not al­ways clearly dif­fer­en­ti­ated flash­backs.

But af­ter the el­der Im at­tempts a bold move to save Mira, the nar­ra­tive straight­ens out, and the drama in­ten­si­fies. More im­por­tantly, through­out “Heart Black­ened” Jung re­mains aware that the ma­jor ap­peal of this pic­ture is its be­hind-the-fa­cade look at the pow­er­ful and fa­mous. Even at its most se­ri­ous and so­phis­ti­cated, it re­tains the pleas­ingly funky aroma of pulp.

“Heart Black­ened.” Not rated. Run­ning time: 2 hours, 5 min­utes. Play­ing: CGV Cin­e­mas, Los Angeles; CGV Cin­e­mas, Buena Park.

CJ En­ter­tain­ment

CHOI MIN-SIK, left, stars with Ryu Jun-yeol in the film based on a 2013 Chi­nese thriller.

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