Review: ‘The Korean’

'The Korean'

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

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

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