Dir: Pang Eun-Jin. South Korea. 2012. 119mins
Perfect Number, which premiered at the Busan Film Festival, is a worthy adaptation of The Devotion Of Suspect X written by popular Japanese novelist Keigo Higashino, which should perform well domestically, while overseas sales are also likely to be strong.
The film is emblematic of Pang’s strong use of style; from the immaculate mise-en-scène to the film’s gloomy but captivating colour tones
Although actress and director Pang Eun-jin doesn’t have an extensive directorial filmography, she has developed a strong reputation in the industry following her feature debut Princess Aurora (2005) that sold to territories including the UK and though it wasn’t successful domestically, her second feature Perfect Number has the potential to follow on from the vast number of commercial hits that has dominated the local industry this year.
Much like the novel that is the third part in a series called Detective Galileo, it follows a woman who unwittingly killed her ex-husband after he enters her apartment and starts abusing her, but the neighbor next door, a mathematics genius, after hearing the commotion, devises the perfect alibi for her. A detective, however, becomes suspicious and so he begins, together with his colleague, to try and solve the case.
The film is emblematic of Pang’s strong use of style; from the immaculate mise-en-scène to the film’s gloomy but captivating colour tones. Likewise, the camera work is flawless, and the locations in the film have been smartly chosen.
Ryoo Seung-bum, one of Korea’s leading male actors is superb as the solemn and introverted maths genius, which is an unusual role for Ryoo, who normally tends to plays more comical and charismatic characters. Lee Yo-won meanwhile (Take Care Of My Cat, 2001) plays the female lead with great ease and composure. Equally worthy of mention is Cho Jin-woong as the detective who recently starred in Nameless Gangster – a hit earlier this year.
This narrative was also adapted into a Japanese film Suspect X (2008), and though it did well locally in Japan, it failed to find overseas appeal, but given the strength of Perfect Number together with the fact it has a major Korean distributor behind the film, it shouldn’t face similar problems.
Production Companies: K& Entertainment / CJ E&M
International sales: CJ Entertainment, www.cjent.co.kr/eng
Producer: Jeong Tae-sung
Screenplay: Lee Gong-ju, Lee Jung-wha, Kim Tae-yun
Cinematography: Choi Chan-min
Editors: Yoo Sung-yup, Baek Eun-ja
Music: Shin I-kyung
Main Cast: Ryoo Seung-bum, Lee Yo-won, Cho Jin-woong