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  Publicity Stills of "The Last Breath"
(Courtesy from Encore Films)

In Korean with English & Chinese subtitles
Director: Jeong Beom-sik, Jeong Sik
Cast: KIM Tae-woo, KIM Bo-kyung, JIN Goo, LEE Dong-kyu
Runtime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: Encore Films
Rating: NC-16 (Some Disturbing Scenes)
Official Website: www.encorefilms.com/lastbreath

Opening Day: 18 Oct 2007


In a modern hospital in 1941, doctors witness weird tales and learn DEATH is the sole healer.
Jung-Name, future son-in-law of the hospital director, takes night duty at the morgue. On his very first day at the morgue, a corpse of beautiful teenager girl who committed suicide awaits him. And her extraordinary beauty and her story behind the suicide throw Jung-Name into confusion. While spending the night with the corpse, Jung-Name encounters his destiny against stunning odds.

In the meantime, a little girl, Asako, covered in blood is carried into the emergency room. Oddly
enough, she is the only survivor in a deadly car accident without any physical damage. A psychiatrist, Soo-In, conducts hypnosis to find out the torments Asako went through in order to set her free from a pang of guilt.

Going across these two odd stories, a married couple doctors, Dong-Won and In-Young return to the hospital from Tokyo and unceasing serial murders linger around them. One night, Dong-Won follows In-Young who gets out of bed at midnight and witnesses the serial killings. This incident brings on unexpected agony of the past for this couple …

Short Review:

The Last Breath is a series of 3 tales of romantic tragedies in life's final moments with ghastly twist and turns. The pitfalls of this movie lies in it's slow pace, rather unnecessary confusion and unnecessary weak link among the three tales. The visual graphic was unevenly done in it's production as some parts was wondrous and some were glaring bad that it actually detract viewers from the story. Otherwise it could have potential to left the viewers with a stronger impression of these three haunting love stories.

Movie Review:

To brand the last breath under the horror genre is not exactly right. It's more in line with the romance genre with a unhealthy focus on the undying type of love. Since The Last breaths is segmented into 3 such stories and let’s review each of them individually.

The first segment comprises of the start and the end of the whole movie. It begins with the hospital director, Jung-Name recounting events that occurred back in 1941 when he was just an intern at the morgue. He was betrothed to the director's daughter but was strangely attracted to a corpse of a beautiful teenager girl who committed suicide.

In a movie that had similar theme to the weirdness of twilight zone, this segment packs the most bizarre revelation in this movie. However, the whole process took such a long time to unravel with very few scary moments that it seems that this whole movie is anti-scariness and pro long draggyness. While it might be fine for those who purchased the ticket for a drama genre type of movie, those who came to be spook might just nod off at the beautifully but overwhelming slow and tiresome shot scenes.

After the first story come to a pause, the pace of the movie took a sharp turn. If the first tale was low on scares, the second one went overdrive to spook the viewers.

In the second tale, we are treated to the little girl, Asako's horrific experience of staying in a hospital after a terrible accident that took away her parents' lives. While the haunting seems scary and bizarre, if one understand motivation among characters and family love in cinematic sense, it's not that difficult to get underneath the fright mechanisation to see what's driving the scary nightmares in the hospital. It could easily be the scariest tale of trio but the biggest draw in this segment is the presentation of the strong parental love between mother and a daughter.

What detracts this segment was the unnecessary additional twist of fate for the little girl’s psychiatrist, Soo-In. The essence of the second tale was already effectively translated from the screen to the audience and it wasn’t necessary to drag the audience through another round of gruesome mayhem.

This form continues to the final story in The Last Breath which denoted the misadventure of the married couple doctors, Dong-Won and In-Young. The young married couple had just return from their Avant-Garde brain operation from Japan and when they return back to Korea, a series of killings targeted the Japanese soldiers occupying in Korea.

Compare to the second segment, the third segment overdose with twisted revelation on top of another. It felt that the storyteller was desperately trying to elevate this average tale to something more memorable but it backfires instead.

This segment utilized one of the most interesting cinematography way of capturing shadow but it’s also has one of the most glaring use of computer generated effect which made some of the shadow effect look fake and cheap.

The last problem it had was how it tried to link this three different horror tales together in a jigsaw puzzle manner. While some films was able to do it effectively like Crazy Stone where it successfully show how one person’s seemly innocent action would affect another persona greatly, The Last Breath simply lack the fineness to do so. It will make the non passive viewers to try to figure out what's the point of linking these segments together and the result would be a disappointing zero.

Personally, this film was actually good enough on it’s own without the disguise as a horror genre and trying too hard in its multiple endings or linkage. It’s a pity as it had potential in its set production, characters, story and cast.

Movie Rating:

(Slow unnecessary confusing and unnecessary weak link with unevenly visual production detrack from a potential strong stories of romantic horror anthology)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


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