The Woman in the White Car
The Woman in the White Car has, after initial reactions, inevitably drawn comparisons with Fargo, as any police procedural set against a snowy milieu is bound to. To bolster the comparison, Christine Ko’s mystery thriller also has an unlikely heroine as its narrative surrogate in Hyun- Ju (Lee Jeong-eun), who is called to a hospital where Do-Kyung (Jung Ryeo-won) and a woman she claims to be her sister are being treated for injuries she testifies were inflicted by the latter’s abusive partner. Crystal-white environs and wise female cops notwithstanding, The Woman in the White Car proves itself to be less Coen Brothers and more The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window as it digs a cluttered, convoluted hole for itself from which it struggles to clamber.
The film feels like a box-ticking exercise, a by-the-numbers realisation of what’s expected from a dark and moody mystery. The saturation of such genre trappings and clichés chips away at any intrigue until all that’s left is the clunking sound of its mechanics. A Secret Window-esque literary contrivance, inorganic backstory and jolting flashbacks all contribute to the film’s convolution, while its riff on the Rashomon narrative device feels like a less precise stylistic choice than a way of simply talking its way through the mystery’s possible conclusions.
It is a frustratingly talky mystery, one which contains the ironic declaration from a character that “we just have to show, not tell”, a suggestion whose application would’ve made for a more satisfying cinematic experience. It talks its way through so many winding twists and turns that it gets consumed by the narrative labyrinth, and rarely feels in command of its unruly threads.
The Woman in the White Car does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for The Woman in the White Car here: