Montage (몽타주) may have been ahead of its time. The 2013 suspense-thriller was released in theaters. But its thematic elements would be seen many times over in television series over the years. In that sense, the two-hour film is the perfect alternative if you’re looking a quicker roller coaster than a typical 16-episode drama.
Uhm Jung-Hwa plays Ha Kyung, a mother whose daughter is kidnapped and murdered 15 years ago. The statute of limitations is expiring in a couple of days, yet her daughter’s killer has yet to be found. Detective Chung Ho (Kim Sang Kyung), who had worked on the case, suddenly stumbles upon a lead. He begins investigating the similar kidnapping of a little girl after she is taken while in the care of her grandfather Han Chul (Song Young Chang). Ha Kyung, however, takes matters into her own hands and investigates on her own as well when the police have already given up.
The film proceeds on a twisty turn through the past and present, uncovering and revealing secrets and the ultimate truth. It is a fast-paced story that isn’t high on the explosiveness or action, but focuses more on the characters, their motivations and their responses to the circumstances they find themselves in.
Uhm Jung Hwa and Kim Sang Kyung are solid with their performances. They accomplish what the film requires of them and that is to deliver understated and thoughtful performances. Their bits of emotion and depth come at the most silent of moments. And that allows both to give impact performances. In the end, that helps to bring everything full circle in a satisfying way.
Montage‘s brisk pace offers a nice alternative to the usual 16-episode television drama. Packing in a comparative amount of mystery and suspense in a more quickly accessible package.