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Review: 'Blood and Ties' ratchets up tension

The South Korean psychological thriller "Blood and Ties" asks provocative questions: What if you suddenly suspected your beloved father of being a long-sought kidnapper and murderer? And what if the statute of limitations on that heinous crime was days away from running out — with the perpetrator finally on the cusp of permanent freedom?

The answers, concocted by writer Sun-Hwa Bin (from a story by Jin-Pyo Park), spin out amid such a compelling, satisfyingly twisty tale it's easy to forgive the movie's sometimes overly convenient plotting and occasional dips into melodrama. An American remake would seem a natural.

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Without spoiling the story's surprises — a few of which are masterfully contained until the bitter end — suffice to say that the film, set in Seoul, increasingly intrigues as events unfold, all against a convincing ticking clock. Director Dong-Suk Kuk ratchets up the tension, effectively toggling back and forth in time to reveal the picture's various puzzle pieces.

"Blood" is anchored by two deeply felt performances: Kap-Soo Kim as Soon-man, the loving, dependent dad who's seemingly sacrificed so much for the sake of his equally devoted daughter; and Ye-Jin Son as Da-Eun, the budding journalist who begins to investigate her father's possible guilt in an unforgivable crime. Together, they make a highly believable, you-and-me-against-the-world twosome — until that once-irrevocable bond is broken. And that's when things get really interesting.

"Blood and Ties." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes. In Korean with English subtitles. Playing: At CGV Cinemas, Los Angeles.

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