Late in Time, a character suddenly looks into the camera wearing a life-sized mask of her own face, complete with eye shadow and lipstick. Had the movie worked to that point, the moment would have been chilling, reducing the audience to a stunned silence. As it is, however, the scene is greeted by shouts of incredulous laughter; for viewers like myself, it's the point at which we realize there's no redemption ahead, and we're never going to make the emotional connection director Kim Ki-duk seems certain he's created.

Based on a fascinating topic -- the allure of plastic surgery, not for enhancement but for renewal -- Time is a story loaded with potential. As the film opens, Seh-hee (Park Ji-Yeon) and Ji-woo (Ha Jung-woo) have a terrible fight that stems from him having the temerity to lay his eyes on another woman. Later in bed, Seh-hee apologizes over and over for always having the "same boring face," and begs him to imagine one of the women they fought over as they make love. The next day, she's gone, ending a two-year relationship without a word.