Double movie feature : Korean thrillers.

Now officially back from my hiatus, here I am writing a post with my favorite BTS music blasting out of my speakers. Although my announcement from my hiatus was announced quite some time back I was still unable to make an immediate and complete return at that time. However today morning an old friend of mine had called and told me over the phone  “Hey aren’t you blogging anymore? I haven’t seen you share links to your posts in quite some time!” That got me to finally rise up from lying around and typing this and the energy keeps increasing with each word I type.

Now although the heading indicates the subject ‘Korean thrillers’ I have something to say before you read into both the movies. These two movies in no way, describe the genre of Korean thrillers completely. In fact, they are two thrillers that I happened to watch one after the other and felt it was nice for my next double feature. There are an excellent array of Korean thrillers that I know of, and probably you, the reader probably know even more of. If you do please let me know in the comments below! Not that these two are not great in any way! It’s just that the genre is more expansive than what we can imagine.

1. The Chaser

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Theatrical release poster 

Title : The Chaser

Country of origin : South Korea

Language : Korean

Directed by : Na Hong Jin

Written by : Na Hong Jin, Shinho Lee, Hong Won Chan

Starring: Kim Yoon Seok, Ha Jung Woo, So Young Hee

Music by : Kim Jun Seok, Chooi Young Rak

Released on : 14 February , 2008

Duration : 123 minutes

Genre : Thriller, Action, Crime

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Kim Yoon Seok as Eom Joong Ho

Eom Joong Ho is an ex-detective, now turned pimp. He finds it hard to run his business as two of his girls are now missing. He frantically tries to find who is the one who is reselling his girls. Eventually he gets a call from a customer and he send one of his last remaining girls, to his place.

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Seo Young Hee as Kim Mi Jin

He sends Kim Mi Jin to the customer’s place. He however realizes that this is the same man to whom his missing girls went to and suspects that this is the man behind reselling the girls. He therefore warns Mi Jin and tells him to call him immediately once she can confirm something. She agrees to go despite being ill and having to leave her daughter alone at home. She goes to his home and asks to use the bathroom to call Joong Ho. She sees that the bathroom is totally locked up with no way for even a sound to go out. She sees blood stains on the floor and realizes something is wrong. While she is trying to contact Joong Ho the man comes and assaults her and warns her that if she screams too much she will have her tongue cut out like the previous girl. She resists and the attack is disturbed by an elderly couple from the church who came to inquire at his home. He invites the couple in, and butchers them.

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Ha Jung Woo as Je Yeong Min, the serial killer.

While on his way out, his car bumps in with Joong Ho’s car. Joong Ho feeling something is amiss in the man, calls to the suspicious customer’s phone and finds that he is the man that he was looking for.

The rest of the movie is based around an intense and exciting tale of the identity  of the attacker, the extensiveness of his crimes , his past and how Joong Ho uncovers them all, in his attempt to save Mi Jin, whose daughter is waiting for him at home.

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Kim Yoo Jung as Eun Ji, Mi Jin’s daughter.

From the time I started watching this movie, it really had an eerie feeling about that made me feel that I will be in for a roller-coaster of a journey for this movie and I was not wrong. This movie is not for the faint hearted although I wouldn’t term this as a movie as brutal as some other movies that I have seen of in the past.

But that doesn’t pull this movie down in any way as far as being a crime thriller is concerned. The fact that it is inspired by a real life killer makes it even more creepier to be honest. The film was intense, gut wrenching and exciting. You wouldn’t even pause it for a pee break! The character build up around the villain was also interesting and made ‘sense’ into how he could become the man that he is today. Strangely enough this intense movie also has its fair share of emotions as well, especially in the scenes that involves, Joong Ho and Mi Jin’s daughter.

The actors, all three of them were equal in performance and gave justice to their roles as well, including the role played by Mi Jin’s daughter.

All in all, a really good thriller!

You can watch the trailer in this link – here

2. The Man From Nowhere

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Theatrical release poster

Title : The Man From Nowhere

Country of origin : South Korea

Language : Korean

Directed by : Lee Jeong Beom

Written by : Lee Jeong Beom

Starring : Won Bin, Kim Sae Ron

Music by : Shim Hyun Jung

Released : 4th August 2010

Duration : 119 minutes

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Won Bin as Cha Tae Sik

Cha Tae Sik may look cool in the picture I have put above, but when the movie starts, he is a man leading a silent life running a pawn shop. His only friend is the little girl who lives next door to him, So Mi who lives with her mother Hyo Jeong. So Mi’s mother is a heroin addict and she steals drugs from a Korean-Vietnamese crime group. She pawns her camera bag to Tae Sik , unknown to him , the bag has drugs inside ti. However people from the crime group come to Hyo Jeong’s home to find the missing drugs.

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Kim Sae Ron as So Mi

They torture her to know the whereabouts of the drugs, and kidnaps both her and So Mi. Tae Sik attempts to save them and in the end agree to deliver drugs for them. But Tae Sik doesn’t realize that it a trap. He gets caught by the police and in the trunk of his car, which he used to deliver the drugs, the police find Hyo Jeong’s body, with all its organs harvested. The police detain him as soon as he is caught, but he soon escapes from the police station after a surprising show of agility and skill and they soon find out that he was a former covert operator, who retired after injuring himself and witnessing his pregnant wife being murdered by an enemy.

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The rest of the movie is about how Tae Sik attempts to save So Mi from the crime gang.

Although I included this movie in this double feature, I just noticed that this movie too, is about a meal lead and a child artist! I think along the way I have seen some splendid performances by child artists especially in movies like Train To Busan or movies like The Wedding Dress .

This movie really had a lot more action. When you look at the movie ‘Chaser’ its more of an investigation based film, where they try to find the real criminal. Here the criminal(s) is quite apparent and the movie really revolves around Tae Sik’s attempts to rescue So Mi. This time the lead had more of a back story rather than the villain here and it was really sad how his story ended out to be.

About the actor performances, although the child artist Kim Sae Ron, really had a more pivotal role here, it didn’t come out to be as major in the film as I expected. On that note, it was more of a one-man-show with Won Bin who however showed a very well executed number of action scenes (I haven’t done any research on how much he used a stunt double), but it was quite good. And it didn’t have a real hero walking off to the sunset kin of ending either something which I am all for because as far as I am concerned I am a person who favors the amount of reality that is showed in movies more than anything else!

So if you are looking for a movie with a not too heavy plot where you have to intently follow but still have a good amount of action and thrill in it, then this is the movie for you.

Overall this double feature was based off of two movies that I enjoyed in a genre that I don’t watch as frequently as much. Thriller is an interesting genre and all the more difficult for the story to develop and execute because having a plot based off of something and having almost 2 hours where the audience are at the edge of their seats is no easy feat. That’s why, although I don’t watch a lot of it, I can definitely agree that thriller movies belong to that genre of films,that pose a certain amount of difficulty to actually make but at the same time have produced some of the most memorable films to date. If you know any other interesting thriller movies then please mention it in the comments below!

Image courtesy : Google Image Search

 

4 comments

  1. Have you seen the Vengeance series? There are 3 movies by the same director, Park Chan-wook, the most famous of them being Oldboy. My favorite is Lady Vengeance. When I watched 22 Female Kottayam, I got very similar vibes.
    They are classic revenge thrillers and can be a bit uncomfortable but wildly entertaining.
    He also helped produce Snowpiercer, which was an incredible Hollywood/Korean blend movie based on an post apocalyptic old graphic novel.

    I’ll have to check these out 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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