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A Killer Paradox Review – A Slow-burn Cat & Mouse Thriller

By Binged Bureau - Feb 11, 2024 @ 10:02 pm
6 / 10
BOTTOM LINE: A Slow-burn Cat & Mouse Thriller
Rating
6 / 10
Skin N Swear
Nudity, Profanity, Violence
Thriller

What Is the Story About?

Based on a Naver webtoon that goes with the same name, A Killer Paradox follows the cat and mouse game between a college going student who commits an accidental manslaughter of a serial killer and further murders he gets caught in, and a stone cold detective who stops at nothing to relentlessly pursue and catch him. The lines that separate victim and perpetrator blurs, as accountability and ridden guilt seeps over.

Performances?

A Killer Paradox, headlined by Choi Woo-sik and Son Suk-ku is thoroughly balanced by the power-packed performances from both the actors.

Choi Woo-sik effortlessly portrays the dumb college going Lee Tang and his anxiety, depression and emotional turmoil post he commits his first murder. A complicated character to portray, the actor brings out the helplessness, guilt and gravity of a bullied person turned murderer of serial killers with finesse.

So Suk-ku who steals every scene he is in. An idiosyncratic detective who relentlessly pursues the murderer (in every case), is emotionally detached and also seemingly with the suppressed anguish of unsolved cold cases he dealt with earlier.

Lee Hee jon plays the role of a former cop Song Chon who chases and nails Lee Tang, and his character brings in the necessary twist to the stretched cat & mouse game after a point.

Analysis

Based on a popular naver webtoon that goes by the same name, A Killer Paradox is written by Kim Da-min & directed by Lee Chang-hee and is quite an unfamiliar cat and mouse game between an accidental murderer and a haughy detective. The series follows by its title as it examines the paradoxical synthesis of murder when the victims are murderers themselves.

A Killer Paradox begins with a close look at Lee Tang and his family. Tang is a typical disinterested college going kid with not much of ambition going for him. He however dreams to do higher studies in Australia. He works part-time at a convenience store and has just a close knit of two friends.

The show however takes its first dark turn when he encounters two drunk men at the store he works. After his shift at work, enroute his apartment he finds one of them dead and the other man furiously tries to attack him when Lee Tang tries to inform him about his friend. A quick flashback to his school life, Tang is shown as a feeble boy who was badly bullied.

The sequence abruptly cuts back to Lee Tang hitting the drunk man with a hammer and thereby killing him. A blind woman and her dog appears at the scene unaware of the occurings and a guilt ridden Tang hurries back to his apartment (that he rents with his friend at college). Tang hallucinates the dead man haunting him the whole night.

A Killer Paradox then introduces the haughty detective Jang Nan-gam, the next day. He is shown as someone who is not just arrogant but completely apathetic towards life and his dear ones. He takes up the case of the dual murder and seeks to find the killer. But here’s the surprise! The man who Lee Tang accidentally killed turns out to be a wanted serial killer who changed his identity.

Without spoiling the show further, the basic premise of A Killer Paradox is the paradox of murder as an act when the line between victim and perpetrator blurs. The show takes a refined look at what happens to the perpetrator if his crimes involve murdering murderers before law?

Unlike regular Korean Serial Killer trope thrillers, A Killer Paradox takes a very nuanced take at crime, victim, perpetrator, guilt and accountability. It does effectively frame the grey and makes the show stand out in the crowd with minimal violence. The show is also rightly fuelled by the performances from its leading men. One of the biggest casting victories of the show is picturising a naive looking Choi woo-sik as the murderer and weighing the chromatography of accountability based on the crimes his victims committed.

However, the show does get repetitive and a bit predictable half way down. The brutal coincidence of every victim of Lee Tang turning out to be ones with criminal past is too convenient to take. The pace also dips slow when the number of sub-plots and characters are kept minimal.

To be concise, A Killer Paradox is not a run of the mill show. It’s quite different and the synthesis it tries to achieve is quite laudable. If you’re someone who is only into fast paced edge-of-the-seat thrillers, A Killer Paradox is not for you. But if you wish to see a slightly different cat and mouse thriller, give this one a watch. It’s slow-burn, but sure engaging from the word go.

Music and Other Departments?

Dalpalan’s music for A Killer Paradox is apt for its pacing and writing. The sound design is particularly delicious when the screen blacks out. Park Se-soong’s camera work throughout the show is adequate, but some frames are really interesting. Kim Da-min’s writing and Lee Chang-hee’s direction aid each other quite well, while the editing should have been crisper.

Highlights?

Theme

Casting

Direction

Twists

Drawbacks?

Lack of prominent supporting characters

Frequent flashbacks

Slow pace

Did I Enjoy It?

Yes

Will You Recommend It?

Yes

Killer Paradox Series Review by Binged Bureau

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