The Korean

A gangster pic told through a shifting series of perspectives and fractured timelines.

Cast:
With: Josiah D. Lee, Jennifer Vos, John Yost, Jack Erdie, Rik Billock, Rose Smith.

Debutante writer-director Thomas Dixon’s “The Korean” is a gangster pic told through a shifting series of perspectives and fractured timelines, and it should serve to illustrate a key storytelling principle to fellow aspiring “Reservoir Dogs” imitators: Even in a nontraditionally structured narrative, there should still be a source of dramatic tension beyond “who is this person?” and “why are they doing that?” Pic, which opened Feb. 12 in limited release, is at times impressively shot despite a miniscule budget, but its heavy affectations and maladroit scripting make it a tough slog, and commercial prospects look dreary.

Beginning with the apparent assassination of stone-faced Korean gangster Lee (Josiah D. Lee, failing to meet even the most charitable standards of bad-assery), the pic proceeds to leap through time anarchically as he pursues an assortment of gangsters and a pro forma love interest, turning what would have been a bare-bones double-cross narrative into an impenetrable fog. Attempts to fill time through Tarantinoesque violent comedy and tough-guy bluster fall flat, and some subtitled Italian mafiosi appear to have been reading their lines phonetically from cue cards. Individual shot compositions are often inventive, however.

The Korean

Production: An Indican Pictures release of a Storyteller presentation in association with Jonadab Pictures. Co-producer, Alexander Wilson. Directed, written, edited by Thomas Dixon.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Andreas Krol; music, Jace Vek; art director, Marcus Miller; costume designer, Diane Collins. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, Feb. 9, 2009. Running time: 100 MIN.

With: With: Josiah D. Lee, Jennifer Vos, John Yost, Jack Erdie, Rik Billock, Rose Smith.

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