With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, September 30, 2011

ACF 1165: Korean thriller "Midnight FM" reviewed

Midnight FM / Shi-myuai FM
Directed by Kim Sang-man
South Korea, 2010, 106 minutes

Go Seon-Yeong (Ae Soo), a  young female DJ is hosting her last two-hour radio show before leaving for the United States where she hopes an operation will cure her daughter who is mute. Meanwhile, Han Dong-Soo  (Yu Ji-tae), a demented fan, has invaded her apartment and taken her daughter, her sister and her niece hostage. His demand: that she plays the songs on the playlist he has created. Problem is, the playlist can't be found! The situation becomes more and more dire, as Seon-Yeong can not meet Don-soo's demands, partially due to the interference of the producer of her program and the station manager.

When I first read about the film, I immediately thought of Play Misty for Me (1971), the first feature film Clint Eastwood directed. To Midnight FM's credit, that film is the first of several that are either cited or otherwise referenced. Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976) also features prominently in FM's plot.

Go Seon-Yeong at her mike

I'm not a huge fan of this type of film, but I was captivated by Midnight FM, and found myself intimately involved with what was going on and how things were going to play out. There's one helluva terrific chase scene with Dong-Soo in a taxi being followed by Seon-Yeong in her car. She in turn is not only being trailed by the police, but is being terrorized by a group of motorcycle bikers!

I did have a problem with the daughter. She seemed just a bit too composed and self-possessed in the midst of some madness and mayhem she witnesses in the apartment. i would expect someone her age to be wide-eyed and nearly paralyzed with fear. I know I would've been at that age. On the other hand, making her a mute was a nice plot device, because, of course, she can't scream!

ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 stars, a good film, well-worth watching. 

Midnight FM was a co-presentation of The Korea Society and MoMA as part of the film series Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today, 2011, which runs through this Sunday, Ocotober 2nd. For the schedule, individual film descriptions, and to order tickets, visit either The Korea Society or MoMA.

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