Scarlet Innocence (Madam Ppang-Deok), 2014.
Directed by Yim Pil-sung.
Starring Woo-sung Jung, Esom, and So-young Park.
Small-town girl Deokee is abandoned by university professor Hak-kyu after a lusty affair, and vengefully approaches him 8 years later when he starts suffering from blindness.
A university professor seeks refuge teaching in a small town while a sex scandal puts his position under review; being a sexual predator he is soon bedding another of his students despite being married and having a young daughter. When the charges are dismissed, the academic is reinstated and leaves behind his obsessive mistress.
Before the two lovers are separated their worlds are torn apart by an abortion and two tragic deaths by a house fire and suicide. Eight years later the professor has become a bestselling author whose life is filled with sex and booze, and an estranged teenage daughter; complications arise when he begins to lose his eyesight and a lover from his past reappears.
Unlike The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) which retells a folk tale in imaginative way, Scarlet Innocence turns a fairy tale into erotic thriller which is big on the erotic and rather lacking on the thrills. Full marks go to the slick production from the cinematography by Lee Sung-je and editing by Kim Sang-bum. Not the same could be said for the script which lazily relies on sex to titillate audience members rather than showing some narrative ingenuity. Filmmaker Yim Pil-sung could take some necessary pointers from Fatal Attraction (1987), and Basic Instinct (1992) which excelled in producing suspense.
There is a lot of potential with the concept which is undermined by having the blindness occur halfway through the movie. If you introduced the blindness and the reappearance of the lover in the first 20 minutes and implied rather than showed the sex, the two hour cinematic runtime could be easily cut down by half an hour and the thriller aspect would take precedent. Jung Woo-sung does a decent job of portraying the indecent professor but the rogue charm is serious lacking. Esom on the other hand is able to convey a sense of vulnerability and naivety which is the only redeeming element to be found in Scarlet Innocence.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★/ Movie: ★