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Searching: A TIFF Review of ‘Bring Me Home’

September 21, 2019Ben MK

Six years after her son vanished without so much as a trace, a grief-stricken mother receives word that he might actually be alive. But when she goes looking for answers, is she prepared to face the darkness and depravity obscuring her path to the truth?

A mystery-thriller about the extraordinary measures a parent will go to to be reunited with their child and the despicable lengths some people will go to to cover up their wrongdoings, first-time director Kim Seung-woo's Bring Me Home shines a light on the plight of the many South Korean parents who have spent years searching for their missing kids. Starring Lee Young-ae (best known for her role in Park Chan-wook's Lady Vengeance), the film follows Jung-yeon (Lee), a recently widowed mother of a young boy named Yoon-su, for whom she and her husband have been relentlessly searching for for over half a decade. But when a mysterious tip leads Jung-yeon to a remote fishing village — where a boy named Min-su bears a striking resemblance to her missing child — she will have to do battle with corrupt cops and child abusers in order to get to the bottom of her son's disappearance.

Anchored by Lee's hard-hitting and heartbreaking performance, the result spends much of its initial two acts exploring Jung-yeon's emotional journey. However, don't let that fool you. With a nail-biting, twist-filled and brutally violent conclusion that more than makes up for its slow-burning first half, Bring Me Home is yet another fine addition to the ever-growing pantheon of South Korean crime thrillers the country has become synonymous with in recent years.

Bring Me Home makes its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 48 min.

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