Korean film, The Chaser, marks the first outing for director and screenwriter Na Hong Jin. Na directs with muscle and verve, more than fulfilling the genre’s gore requirements. The excellence of this feature does not depend on trick photography, but upon genuinely expert composition of the scenes and careful atmospheric effects.
The plot goes a little something like this, Jung-ho used to be a detective before he started pimping. Annoyed that a number of his girls have vanished in recent weeks, Jung-ho sends one of his lovelier assets, to service regular client Young-min one night, only afterward realizing this client may be responsible for the girls’ disappearances. He then follows him to try and search for the missing girls. Although he catches his murderous quarry, who is duly arrested by the police, and who quite freely confesses his crimes, the case only gets more complicated due to a lack of evidence.
Despite the unnecessary length of The Chaser, it is an entertaining watch. The plot is quite different than most other suspense movies, as the killer is revealed pretty early… but yet, the movie is full of twists and surprises. Yun-seok Kim turns in an amazing performance, that easily puts him in the top pantheon of anti-heroes, and is reminiscent of some of Chow Yun-Fat’s early works. There are fleeting moments of humanity served to increase your emotional investment, especially once things start to take a turn for the worse towards the end of the movie.
The Chaser is a film of such intelligence that it leaves you, to take from it and regard it however you want. These are my favorite types of films because they always end up warranting a second and third viewing. The Chaser is a superbly directed, throughly gripping and a shockingly dark thriller that’s well worth seeing. I review a lot of movies on this site and although this film just misses the covenant A+ rating, I have no problem whatsoever in considering this to be one of the best films I’ve seen in quite some time.