“The public wants to know who Celebrity A and B are in these rumors, but what you really should ask: How are these tabloids made, by whom, and to serve what purpose?
Every once in awhile, a “Celebrity A with Celebrity B” rumor makes it rounds the netizen sphere.The rumors are interesting, far more interesting than the selcas and scripted promotions that flood entertainment news, but connected to a nameless entity. For the average reader, they can do nothing more than speculate and trust in upvoted netizen comments to hint at who it could be.
Most will focus on the identity of these celebrities, gossiping and offering their guesses, unaware that they are not asking the right questions. Once in awhile, a netizen will take a small step in the right direction:
“Why do these rumors exist?”
“Tabloid Truth” offers an exciting reveal of what goes behind the rapid spreading rumors, and the multi-layered intentions that are kept hidden from the public’s eyes. Directed by Kim Kwang Sik, the movie is first of its kind to give spotlight on the sensational tabloid culture of Korean entertainment by focusing on a “Tip Sheet,” report made from secrets meetings consisting of corporate, political, and entertainment insiders. The information is then published to their high paying subscribers, before making it to the tabloids and the internet as juicy gossip. These rumors are generally accepted to be truth, without sources or evidence, and spread carelessly and easily on the internet, because, after all, how much damage can a few words do?
For Woo Gon(Kim Kwang Woo), irreversibly so much. Woo Gon is a passionate and stubborn small-time manager who was the one to discover and nurture up and coming actress, Mi Jin (Ko Won Hee). This hopeful and hard working pair is close to making it into stardom, when a scandalous rumor names Mi Jin as the mistress to a high ranking politician (Ahn Sung Ki). Woo Gon frantically does what he little he can to do damage control, but then finds Mi Jin dead in her apartment.
With the joy and purpose of his life gone, Woo Gon has nothing left to lose as he desperately seeks out the truth and revenge on those who tainted Mi Jin’s name and led her to her death. As he starts asking questions and going deeper into the intricate and strongly connected network between between the entertainment industry and politics, Woo Gon finds himself becoming involved in a scandal that is bigger than he could have imagined.
The movie moves quickly; throwing out a combination of action, drama, and humor to keep the viewer engaged throughout. The movie maintains a constant level of suspense as we also desire to know the truth along with the likable Woo Gon. Kim Kwang Woo keeps his character simple and straightforward with the fire burning in his hurt puppy eyes. Jung Jin Young plays the jaded Mr. Park, a former investigative journalist who guides Woo Gun on his quest for truth, with the ease that comes from being a veteran actor. Go Chang Suk and Park Seong Wong lead the strong cast of supporting actors that has no weak links.
To its credit, “Tabloid Truth” does a fine job of answering the quiet questions the viewer may have while watching, and the ending is satisfying without lacking much. However, what really makes this movie worth watching is the revealing of what the industry insiders know and do. Those familiar with Korean entertainment will see fictional parallels with recents news and happenings from the real life. While the movie does sacrifice some realism for the sake of theatrical enjoyment, it does bring up points that are all too real and relevant in the Korean society of high speed internet “netizen power.”
Title: Tabloid Truth
Genre: Action, Mystery
Language: Korean with English subtitles
Running Time: 121 minutes
Director: KIM Kwang-sik
All images curtesy of CJ E&M