My movie watching experience is different from my drama watching habit. Most of the time, I would pick up a movie to be watched out of curiosity or simply because I have some free time to spare without checking out the synopsis. Psychometry or The Gifted Hands is picked up without any particular reason at first but when the movie ends, I am grateful to have chosen it as my weekend’s starter course.
Listed as a movie with the genres mystery/thriller/supernatural, Psychometry revolves around a detective with a child kidnapping case under his investigation only to find the child being found dead and frozen one month later. Little did he know that an encounter with a hooded young man who’s out spraying grafitti on wall of a dark alley would lead him onto the path towards the child kidnapper and murderer.
Kim Kang-woo plays the detective Yang Chun-dong who has no outstanding achievement or whatsoever in his record, except for a bad history of joining a fraud pyramid scheme (“It’s a network marketing !” He would correct you with this) to earn some pocket money. He’s portrayed as a detective who acts out without putting so much thought into it. I thought that his superiors was calling him Chun-dong as a nickname (sounds like the word ‘cheon-doong’ that means ‘thunder’) but soon realizes that it’s his real name.
He looks like a detective who might do his job half-heartedly but soon we learns how he immerses himself into the investigation. While his team does not even care about the kidnapping case at first, he decides to pursue it alone but nothing comes out from his investigation. The case takes a different turn when the abandoned missing kid is found dead and frozen in an isolated playground. Chun-dong is clearly shaken with the unforeseen development of the case and the blame is put on him as the detective who is in charge of the missing kid. He starts off digging out the murder case when he remembers something.
The playground seems familiar to him and he recalls seeing the place being painted by a hooded guy on the wall of a dark alley. The encounter started with Chun-dong taking a piss in the alley while the guy was painting the wall with his spray cans, but it ended with a not-so-nice goodbye by the guy, who sprayed Chun-dong with the paint before running away. The drawing depicts the places that were probably where the murder took place. He tracks down the places and this brings him into a close encounter with the suspect who manages to escape.
His team is still wary of him and refuses to hear his story about the painting, so Chun-dong decides to pursue the suspect in his mind that is the hooded guy. With the spray can as his only clue to track down the guy, he finds the address where the guy Kim Joon (Kim Bum) is staying, but Chun-dong’s friend doesn’t think they get the right guy.
Thinking that he has an accomplice, Chun-dong finds the person whose name is the only one recorded in Joon’s mobile phone book. Kim Seung-gi (Esom) was Joon’s schoolmate but she hasn’t heard anything from him for five years, thinking that he went to America. Joon eventually escapes after displaying his secret ‘talent’ to Chun-dong’s friend.
Another kidnap attempt happens and the girl who survived the attempt describes what the kidnapper did to lure her inside his car. Telling the girl that his puppy is sick, he persuades her into going into the car to check on the puppy, which is frozen before taking her away. While the attempt fails, the dumpling girl earlier becomes the next victim of kidnapping, sending Chun-dong to Joon’s doorstep, demanding where he took the girl.
Joon displays his ability to look into the past and we get to see Chun-dong’s past, which holds a deep scar in his heart. He lost his little brother due to a kidnap and murder case and that’s the motivation and his strongest drive in finding the child murderer. Seung-gi tells Chun-dong about Joon’s ability to see into something or someone’s past simply by touching the subject of interest – psychometry. The reason he’s hiding himself might be because of his mother’s death in an accident due to his inherited ability.
Chun-dong goes to meet Joon again, this time with the intention of asking his help. Joon refuses to hear him out at first but after seeing Chun-dong defending him, he decides to help out. The scene he painted was actually seen from a bird’s eye view and this time, Joon touches the clothes of the murdered girl to get a clue on the murderer. He saw some things after straining himself (to the point of having seizure and coughing out blood) and Chun-dong walks into the police station with his hunch from those things.
His deduction turns out to be wrong and his superiors demand to know where did he get those information. Torn between his promise to Joon to never tell anyone about him and his intention to save the kidnapped girl, he chooses the latter and Joon is brought into custody since he’s now the prime suspect. Chun-dong tries to make Joon show his ability in front of the other officers, but Joon has had enough of the unwanted attention and the broken promise made by Chun-dong. He confesses that he’s the murderer.
Chun-dong is not going to let it slide easily, plus with the real murderer still walking out there freely, and decides to ‘kidnap’ Joon from the police custody. He manages to shake Joon out of his guilt shell and thinking that his hands are the killer hands that killed his own mother; instead, Chun-dong persuades him to turn those hands into the hands that save lives. Off they go to a place where the refrigerator seen by Joon is possibly placed and they manage to find the one that belongs to the murderer, the one where the murdered girl was kept before she’s disposed off at the playground.
Time is running out for both Chun-dong and the kidnapped girl. The girl tries to run away but fails and the murderer decides it’s about time to get rid of the troublesome girl. Chun-dong has to check the houses in the apartment one by one since they only got the apartment’s name and luckily (or unluckily), Joon meets with the murderer on his way up in the elevator. Joon cooks up a story that he’s visiting a friend on the same level as the murderer as he alerts Chun-dong with the level that the murderer is heading to. But then, the murderer creepily tells Joon that his house is the only house on that level 20 (drat it’s a penthouse!).
Chun-dong breaks into the said penthouse but the murderer is already waiting for him and stabs him with a knife before digging into the wound with his own hand (ewwwwww). The murderer then describes how he thinks the kids are just like the puppies he’s been treating as a vet: cute but they tend to bite his hand, thus leaving him with no other choice than killing them. Chun-dong is getting weaker and Joon, who has been injected by the murderer, pushes him towards the glass panels, sending the man dangling nearly falling from the 20th floor.
Joon tries to see into the man’s past and after several attempts, he manages to see where the kidnapped girl is and Chun-dong drags both of them into the house when Joon looks super weak from the energy he used to see the past. Chun-dong alerts the police and all is well, with the kidnapped girl still alive and found inside the refrigerator in the murderer’s vet clinic.
Chun-dong recovers from the wound and stays in the hospital alone without anyone coming to visit him. He’s cheered up when the nurse tells him that a guy came to visit him and that guy is his brother. He goes to find Joon at his house but the house is now empty and Joon’s number is unreachable. He carries out his daily routine as a detective, patrolling around the area when he sees some grafitti painting on the side of the road. He goes to check out and finds a familiar stroke of painting amidst the other grafitti, depicting another crime that happened. Chun-dong smiles at the drawing and wonders how Joon has been living.
[END of MAJOR SPOILERS]
The big picture of the movie shows about the child kidnapping case and the psychometric ability but the heart of the show is the relationship between the main characters. I’m not saying that the case and the ability aren’t important; in fact, I can’t imagine the movie without the engaging case and the Joon’s talent, but the main thing that lures me into watching until the end is how Chun-dong and Joon’s relationship changes throughout the course of the movie. The brotherhood relationship that blossoms as a result of trust between two complete strangers.
The strongest point of the movie for me is the aspect of trust. It is not the main plot but I love how it is played well between the two main characters who start out as strangers but ends up as two people who care and trust each other. Chun-dong might be pursuing the murderer out of his personal pain, but he’s the main catalyst who made Joon breaks out of his insecure shell of blaming himself for his mother’s death. I think both of them are blaming themselves for the death of their loved ones and that might be the reason why they click with each other. Their guilt won’t disappear easily but Chun-dong decides to pursue his career as a detective in order to save the children’s lives from the same fate like his little brother. Joon finds a way to utilize his ability to save people instead of causing their deaths thanks to Chun-dong, and that’s also due to his trust in Chun-dong.
Although Joon seems to be cooped in his own world, he easily trusts Chun-dong. I believe Chun-dong is the first person who doesn’t call him a monster because of his ability. Joon looks like someone who needs a person to have faith in him, to believe him, and not to judge him. Chun-dong comes at the right time and him asking Joon’s help without judging him must have stirred something in his lonely heart. Plus, with Chun-dong treating him like a little brother, they are just like brothers. I actually love the last part, where Chun-dong can’t really see Joon in front of him but he knows that Joon is living well and using his gifted hands to help people.
Overall, I am satisfied…no, I really like the performance of both Kim Kang-woo and Kim Bum. Kim Kang-woo captures the essence of the goofy and earnest Chun-dong perfectly. It’s hard not to love him by the end of the movie because of his determination. Kim Bum is a surprise for me since he excellently portrays the lonely and vulnerable Joon. His intensity deserves a praise and my favorite scene of him is during the confession part. Superb.
The movie might not perfect all around since there are some loose strings but it is understandable as the movie focuses on the people instead of the technical things. Those who have watched the crime investigation shows might point out that the movie lacks the aspect of logic with the investigation part, but since we’re dealing with emotions and people instead of investigation and technical details, it’s safe to say that the movie is enjoyable for those seeking a show about people. I kind of glad that they put the emphasis on the person rather than focusing on the supernatural ability, because then, it’d be another superhero movie. Instead, it chooses the path of showing the humane side of the person possessing the ability. I recommend this movie to everyone as it’s not that scary, though you’ll find yourself screaming “Run, run, RUNNNN!” or “Faster!!” while jumping on your seat. As for the gory scenes such as the corpse and the intestine-twisting scene, just cover your eyes for a while.
Anyone thinks that Joon’s appearance is similar to JYJ’s Jaejoong? It’s probably thanks to Kim Bum’s small face but the hair and the loose clothing reminds me of Jaejoong!
This is supposed to be an intense scene but I can’t unsee it: Joon looks like he’s about to dance there.