13 October 2005

Ab-Normal Beauty - Unless You're Damian Day

One the films I considered during the festival but then found out that it'd be released shortly afterwards and I could watch it for a damn sight less! Sei Mong Se Jun is about a teenage photography student (Jin) is bored with her pictures (and talent) but then sees a fatal car crash and gets all excited about capturing the moment of death forever. She explores the whole area including paying a butcher to kill more chickens so she could photograph the blood pouring out of their necks and then the last flickers of life before the go totally limp. This of course is not enough and soon she is looking into human tragedies. Soon enough she tries to create fear in other people to capture it forever but then somebody starts sending her what appear to be snuff movies. A young girl is chained up in a chair and beaten senseless before finally being killed by repeated blows with a lead pipe. As she dies a multitude of cameras and flashes go off. Needless to say the whole snuff movie creation soon gets very personal for Jin and the final scenes are quite intense, especially as you try to work out who is doing all this. The film is from the Pang Brothers (who also did Bangkok Dangerous and more recently The Eye) and the direction and musical score is excellent. The script itself is also good and the story is thoroughly gripping. Another well made and very entertaining film from Asia (Hong Kong to be precise). The only thing that let the film down is the poor translation of the subtitles and also the speed at which some of them were displayed for. For example, "Now I know!" becomes "I knew now" and "No" was on screen for 2 seconds yet two sentences only stay on for one second (sometimes). Despite these minor gripes it's still well worth seeing if you are looking for a film to drag you out of the usual Holywood malaise. Four product-placed Nikon cameras out of Five.