A woman who catches her husband cheating takes their daughter and moves to a new apartment. Before long she finds a paid of shoes on the train, which begins a chain of strange and tragic events.
So, this is another Korean movie that I thought was Japanese. Because apparently I assume that all Asian movies are Japanese unless I explicitly read otherwise.
Anyway, there’s a point at which the lead character, Sun-jae (Hye-su Kim), says to another character: “Don’t force a reason,” as he’s trying to piece together certain aspects of her past. And this line really stuck with me, because that feels exactly like what The Red Shoes does for at least the second half of the movie. Rather than taking the time to lay the story out in a consistent and understandable way, it instead mashes together a few elements, throws in some surrealism for flavouring, and hopes for the best.
What I found weird about this, is that there seemed to be a definite shift in tone at about the 50 minute mark (around the time of the second death), which turned it from being a slow but steady story, with some well-built tension, into something that was almost laughably high-strung at times. In fact, one scene in particular, where blood suddenly starts pouring out from somewhere it shouldn’t be (oblique enough? :P), actually did make me laugh – even though that clearly wasn’t the intention. And this shift in tone quickly had me going from being an engaged observer to a clock-watcher, as I counted down the minutes until the movie would be finished.
I’m a little disappointed, because it’s obvious that there’s a good core story in The Red Shoes; and the camerawork in particular was a really engaging aspect of the production, for the most part. But I just found myself frustrated by the inconsistencies in the story, the repetitive nature of certain attempted scares, and the increasingly melodramatic tone of the movie as the minutes ticked by.
Also? Just putting it out there, but Tae-su (Yeon-ah Park) was really, really annoying. I found myself sympathising with Sun-jae in her moments of child-hating distress, more than I probably should have.