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Film / Behind the Face

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Behind the Face is a 2016 film from Mongolia, directed by Orgil Erdenebat.

It is a mystery-thriller. Uyangaa, an upper-class housewife, comes home to find her husband Boldoo murdered. Through a series of flashbacks it becomes clear that Boldoo's wealth may have come through shady business dealings, and even if he personally didn't commit any crimes, he was definitely mixed up with a lot of suspicious, vaguely criminal characters. The flashbacks also make clear that Boldoo was a mean, nasty Jerkass, who was vicious, cruel, and insulting to everyone, including his wife, who was often left weeping after her husband's emotional abuse.

An old family friend of Boldoo's, Tsogoo, is the police detective called in to investigate. At first, suspicion falls on two thieves who were caught with stolen property from Boldoo's house. But the two thieves insist that Boldoo was already dead when they got there, and they give a description of a man they claim to have seen leaving the house. Suspicion then turns Erkhmee, another old friend of Boldoo's who works for his company, but it turns out that everyone has something to hide.



  • Asshole Victim: Boldoo is established as a mean, cruel jerk, who mercilessly belittles his wife, cheats on her, and viciously insults his friend Erkhmee when Erkhmee asks for a bigger role in the company.
  • Bottle Episode: There are a couple of opening establishing shots, a couple of scenes at the hospital, and a brief flashback where Uyangaa and Tsogoo talk in a parked car, but a good 95% of the movie is set in Boldoo's house.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The video camera that Tulgaa annoys people with. He winds up recording a highly incriminating conversation between Uyangaa, Tsogoo, and Erkhmee.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Boldoo's nephew, who pops up about halfway through the movie, wandering around the funeral reception with a video camera. It isn't hard to figure out that he's important, especially since he first appears immediately after someone reveals that Boldoo turned over his fortune to a mysterious person named Tulgaa.
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  • Flashback: Effectively there are two separate narrative tracks. The present tense story starts with Boldoo's murder and goes through the investigation and the series of tense confrontations in the house. This is alternated with a series of flashbacks underlining what a Jerkass Boldoo was, sketching out the nature of his relationships with Uyangaa and Erkhmee, and finally showing how the murder went down. One amusing sequence shows one of Boldoo's flunkies groveling to Uyangaa for a loan, followed by her remembering that same flunky once groveling to Boldoo in identical terms.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Tsogoo. He arrives at the house to cover up Uyangaa's crime, then finds himself having to cover up Uyangaa's and Erkhmee's crimes. Then, after it turns out that Boldoo is still Not Quite Dead, Tsogoo has to kill him himself and then cover up for all three of them.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: One of the first scenes shows Boldoo being whisked through the hospital on a stretcher. (It's a little Chekhov's Gun, in that we don't really see what happened after.)
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: A particularly nasty argument between Boldoo and Uyangaa climaxes with her reminding him that she gets 50% of his assets if they divorce, only for him to spit back right at her that no she won't, because he's put almost all his assets under someone else's name. A shocked Uyangaa grabs a bottle of liquor and starts chugging straight from the bottle. This starts the cycle of violence soon after, when an enraged Uyangaa throws a crystal goblet at Boldoo and hits him square on the head.
  • Made of Iron: Uyangaa throws a crystal goblet at Boldoo and scores a direct hit on his head. As blood streams down his face and he screams at her to call an ambulance, he insults her one too many times, so she bashes him a second time with a statue from the bookcase. She calls Tsogoo in a panic, and in the meantime Erkhmee shows up to find Boldoo sitting on the couch, still alive. Erkhmee seizes his chance and tries to strangle Boldoo with a towel, only for Boldoo to escape, and then fall and whack his head again on a column. Tsogoo arrives, Erkhmee leaves, and Boldoo gets up, still Not Quite Dead. A fight between Tsogoo and Boldoo ends with Tsogoo pulling a whole bookcase down on Boldoo and then leaving. And Boldoo still isn't dead, as he later crawls into the kitchen, grabs at the counter...and pulls a steak knife off the counter. The steak knife sticks in his chest. Then the ending reveals that he still isn't dead, that in fact he survived and has been Faking the Dead with the help of his mother and Tulgaa, who turns out to actually be his son.
  • No Name Given: Unnamed characters include Boldoo's mother, Uyangaa's brother who was an early investor in Boldoo's company, and all the lowlifes at the funeral.
  • The Oner: The funeral scene, in which various characters enter and leave and Boldoo's scary mother is introduced, runs four minutes without a cut.
  • Orbital Shot: The scene where all of Boldoo's vaguely criminal associates speculate on whether he got in trouble with organized crime is shot with a camera that circles around the table from hoodlum to hoodlum as they speculate.
  • Seamless Scenery: A guest at the funeral is trying to sell another guest a car. As they walk between rooms the film smoothly cuts to a flashback with that same guest trying to sell Boldoo that same car.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: One goofy moment shows two of the vaguely creepy guys who have come to Boldoo's funeral start arguing about who has more Twitter followers.
  • Stealing from the Till: It turns out that Erkhmee stole a billion tugriks ($400-500000, depending on exchange rates) from Boldoo's company. Tsogoo knows about this and attempts to extort the money from Erkhmee in return for covering up Erkhmee's role in the crime.
  • Your Cheating Heart
    • Boldoo is cheating on Uyangaa, and has the gall to bring his girlfriend over to the house.
    • And another flashback shows that Uyangaa and Tsogoo were having an affair before Boldoo's death, which explains Tsogoo's actions.

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