Wednesday, October 21, 2009
There is no denying that when you first hear a brief plot summery for The Chaser you will most likely scratch your head. A detective turned pimp, starts losing his girls to a serial killer and uses his professional skills and connections to start a personal manhunt for the suspect. However the hunt will be heavily skewed by wave after wave of frustrating red tape in what appears to be a slight at a broken justice system.
So there you have it, a detective turned pimp hunting a serial killer, despite the unusual plot The Chaser is easily one of the best films I have seen in a long time. I hate to use clichés, but it’s gripping, suspenseful, edge of your seat (ack., hate that saying) thrill ride (terrible I am very sorry), its everything so many crime thrillers with similar tag lines have tried to be in the past, and failed to deliver. As the quality of Hollywood, and (I hate to say but) Hong Kong cinema seems to be dropping, or at best flat lining. Korean Cinema continues to thrive and deliver such brilliant films as this one!
Believe it or not The Chaser is a debut film by a director named Hong-jin Na, who is currently working on his second film, both of which he also wrote. Yun-seok Kim won a Korean Film best actor award for his performance as Joong-Eom the pimp in question, and deservedly so. His performance was top notch, and the same can be said for Jung-woo Ha who brilliantly plays the killer to pitch perfection. He is truly one of the more memorable on screen villains in a long time.
There is a perfect blend of action, suspense, graphic violence (that Korean film fans must be used to by now) humour, and heart shattering drama. Though there is a bit of a slowdown midway through that takes a bit of steam out of the films pacing. Don’t fret because the final 20 minutes of The Chasers outstanding finale will more than make up for it! If you have a habit of biting your nails, or pulling your hair when nervous, you may want to wear gloves and a hat. Because when I pulled out the “edge of your seat” card earlier, I was pretty much talking about the unforgettable climax that will most likely have you gasping aloud. I know I did!
A Directorial Debut by: Hong-jin Na