Review: The Truth Beneath #LKFF2016

The London Korean Film Festival is in its 10th year. This year’s festival focuses on Korean women as directors, actors and their storytelling abilities. This is definitely one festival where women on top. To prove the point, the festival’s opening gala film was The Truth Beneath by Lee Kyoung-mi. The Truth Beneath is a tale of maternal love, loss, betrayal set within the context of political campaign in Seoul.

Jong-chan (Kim Joo-hyuk) is running for national office and lives what appears to be a charmed life with his wife Son so-ra (Son Ye-jin)and rebellious 15 year old daughter. That is until his daughter disappears. Her mother will do anything to find her, yet strangely his loyalties are torn between continuing with his campaign or throwing all his energy into finding his missing daughter.

The Truth Beneath is primarily a thriller about finding the missing daughter but the sub-themes of alienation, betrayal and maternal love are fully explored. Writer and director Lee Kyoung-mi maintains the taut pace throughout that will leave your heart pounding right to the end when the big twist is revealed. The darker elements in this film are in full contrast to the backdrop and music which is colourful and upbeat. The wife’s character is fully formed and Son Ye-jin doesn’t miss a chance to show her range from the heights of love to the very pit of hell that she feels as she’s searching for her missing daughter.

If this is the standard of Korean filmmaking then watch out Hollywood. This is a thriller where nothing is wasted and nothing extra is thrown in. The story is key here and the plot is believable. They say power corrupts and in this film Lee Kyoung-mi demonstrates that frequently.

The Truth Beneath opened the London Korean Film Festival which runs from 3 – 27 November.

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