This might be the only serial killer film featuring a handicapped actor that you ever see. Late Bloomer completely upends the dust covered apple cart of Asian horror. Filmed in gritty black and white, with sporadic, dissonant music, Late Bloomer comes off at times like a less frenetic Tetsuo, rather than the typical elaborately atmospheric Asian chiller. I was impressed by the stylistic flourishes during the violent moments as it contrasted well with the mundane depiction of the lead character's day-to-day routine. I liked that the handicapped lead wasn't looked down upon or made to seem overly sympathetic. He is just a regular guy when it comes to the basic wants: he likes to eat, drink, hang out with his friends, and has an appreciation for his young female caretakers. Despite his profound handicap, he has learned to exist in his environment.
Late Bloomer stands well apart from the rest of the crowd and that's why I recommend it to fans of lower budget, independent cinema. Fans of fast-paced American style movies will most likely find many reasons to hate this film. Rather than a true 4 star rating, this is more in the 3.5 star range to me. I'm having a Catch 22 moment with the casting of an actual handicapped actor to play the lead. The handicap certainly comes across as authentic, but due to the fact that the lead actor speaks by typing his responses into a voice machine and that he appears unable to show much emotion with his facial expressions, when the killing starts, it doesn't feel very real. This effect is probably the intention of the director, and I can appreciate the thought behind it, but my thoughts and emotions weren't as involved as I would have liked. Still, I appreciate the amibition of the film maker and the end result is something you should at least take a look at.