A Girl at My Door

A young but resolute policewoman (Doona Bae of Cloud Atlas), reassigned from Seoul to a remote fishing village, becomes the reluctant protector of a motherless schoolgirl picked on by the community, cursed by her drunken grandmother, and periodically beaten by her loutish father. There’s something a little spooky about the girl—”She doesn’t seem like a child; sometimes she seems like a little monster,” another cop observes—which complicates the continually shifting power struggle between the policewoman and the father. As a mystery, this debut feature by writer-director July Jung makes a mockery of such huffing-and-puffing Hollywood exercises as Gone Girl; the tone is quiet and the pace steady, yet the story arcs so perfectly, tracing the heroine’s growing commitment to the child even as their secrets emerge, that I was engrossed for every minute of its two-hour running time. In Korean with subtitles.