March 28, 2009

Nowhere to Hide: Look at the Crime; Don't Attend to the Crime

Nowhere to Hide certainly looks good. It's got a grainy black-and-white prelude in which one high-energy police bust periodically freeze frames into Crayola-colored stills. It's got slow, arhythmic pans that slide across glass surfaces reflecting autumn leaves, street lights and garish neon. It's got one extended fight sequence shot in silhouette so that it looks like cool shadow puppetry. All of this is good. It's also got a villain (Ahn Sung-kee) who despite being a murderer doesn't seem to justify the extensive manhunt. It's got a main cop (Park Joong-hoon, a kind of poor man's Song Kang-ho) who's technique is limited to swagger, smile and run. The detective has an ineffective sidekick (Jang Dong-kun); the bad guy, a teary-eyed girlfriend (Choi Ji-woo). All of this is bad. Does it balance out in the end? I'd say Nowhere to Hide is the perfect party video; director Lee Myung-se's movie is the type you want playing on a wall at a nightclub or a rave, its periodically flashy visuals acting as conversation-starters and boredom-preventers. Minus the dialogue (and there isn't much, frankly), Nowhere to Hide is fit to be seen and danced to.

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