April 25, 2009

The Chaser: The Kid Stays in the Crime Picture

The reveal and the capture of the serial killer come so soon in The Chaser that you might think, there's no likelihood of unrelenting tension in the hours ahead. Well, you're wrong! Director Na Hong-in and fellow screenwriters Hong Won-chan and Lee Shinho have made something more suspenseful than a standard whodunit; the mystery here isn't who did it, it's whether he'll get away with it despite his confession. What "it" is in this case is the attempted murder of a call girl (Seo Yeong-hie) whose morally compromised pimp (Kim Yun-seok) is undergoing a seismic shift inside as he searches for the lair of her last customer, a psychopath (Ha Jung-woo) held in detention by the cops. It's a wonderfully messy story with subplots involving police brutality, embezzlement, sex trafficking, auto insurance, church finances, and even a mayor who's been hit in the face with human feces. But aside from one glitch near the end in which a delightfully tough lady dick (Park Hyo-ju) inexplicably lets the murderer get away, the twists and turns of The Chaser keep you on your toes. Factor in that this is Na's first feature and an amazing performance by Kim Yoo-jeong as the prostitue's kid, and this movie is a super-impressive addition to Korean noir.


  1. Just saw this last night. It seems Korean (and asian in general) cinema loves to show cops as incompetent. I've never really understood it.

  2. Check out the Public Enemy movies.