Detective K is a Korean movie released in 2010. It is an adaptation of a detective novel by Kim Tak-Hwan.
The film is about a detective secretly ordered by the King to investigate murders committed in his kingdom.
In the plot, Detective K spares the life of a dog thief, Seo Pil, who becomes his travel companion. As he becomes loyal to his savior, Seo Pil literally protects and “covers” Detective K to the point that, in return, he saves the life of Detective K, especially in the situations without hope. During his investigation, Detective K encounters a mysterious and powerful business woman, Han Gaek Ju, the central figure of the film.
As events unfold, Detective K, Seo Pil, and Han Gaek Ju join forces to uncover the identity of the person who hides behind the crimes and his/her true motivations. Eventually at the end, the conspirator is captured, peace and justice are restored in the kingdom, and the king keeps his throne.
The camera work is effective in presenting the two key characters: the villain and the beauty.
The mysterious killer is always presented in a low camera angle. For instance, in a scene, Detective K faces the mysterious killer. Because of the low angle, this character seems to be taller than Detective K, a slim and tall man. This cinematographic effect increases the level of danger and the feeling that this character is powerful, invincible.
Another effective cinematographic effect is the use of slow motion to portray perfection and desirability. In all the scenes Detective K sees or meets Han Gaek Ju, slow motions and different camera angles are used. These techniques give the viewer the opportunity to discover, admire, and appreciate the physical attractiveness of the woman. Therefore, Han Geak Ju embodies the perfect and ideal woman, the woman of every man’s dream. Because she is perfect, she cannot be seen at a glance. Time is absolutely required to discover her just like Detective K who discovers a new attractive feature each time he encounters Han Gaek Ju. In a scene, it is her overall beauty. In another scene, it the perfect design of her eyes, mouth, and her body lines. Finally, in a third scene it is her graceful attitude and manners.
To make perfection and desirability relevant to the viewers, the point of view is the one of a smart, distinguished, and single male character: Detective K. For example, in the scene Detective K is actually introduced to Han Gaek Ju, he is so busy undressing the woman with his eyes that he realizes much later that a huge bloody piece of meat is resting on her right shoulder.
Slow motion is associated with perfection, beauty, and ideal. It works as an answer to the prayer request of the poet asking the time to stop. In fact, in another scene toward the end, Detective K asks Seo Pil why it so difficult to find “the perfect woman.”
With Detective K I experienced my first Korean movie and I can say it was a quite rewarding experience!
Thank you HIFF!