The Yellow Sea (2010)

The Yellow Sea   The Yellow Sea Film Poster

Release Date: December 22nd, 2010

Running Time: 156 mins.

Director: Na Hong-Jin

Writer: Na Hong-Jin, Hong Won-Chan (Screenplay)

Starring: Ha Jung-Woo, Kim Yun-Seok, Cho Seong-Ha, Lee Cheol-Min, Jeong Man-Sik, Jung Min-Sung,

Director Na Hong-Jin followed up his astounding debut, The Chaser (2008) with this film which proves to be even more macho, nihilistic, and violent as if inspired by the absurd cruelty of the split suffered by Koreans since the Korean War’s ceasefire. It is all played out through the misfortune of a simple taxi driver who finds himself caught between ethnic Korean Chinese and South Korean gangsters after he crosses the eponymous Yellow Sea on a mission to kill.

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The Chaser (2008)

The Chaser   

The Chaser Film Poster
The Chaser Film Poster

Release Date: February 14th, 2008

Running Time: 123 mins.

Director: Na Hong-Jin

Writer: Na Hong-Jin, Hong Won-Chan, Lee Shinho, (Screenplay)

Starring: Kim Yun-Seok, Ha Jung-Woo, Seo Young-Hee, Park Hyo-Joo, Jung In-Gi, Kim You-Jung, Ko Bon-Woong, Min Kyung-Jin,

South Korea has produced a number of high quality serial-killer films like I Saw the Devil (2010) and Memories of Murder (2003) but The Chaser is one of the darkest and most thrilling. It is based on a real life case where a murderer named Young-chul Yoo struck fear in Seoul by murdering rich old men and then prostitutes before being brought to justice in 2005. He was convicted of the killing of 20 people and was caught thanks mostly to pimps and prostitutes rather than the police. Apparently he was inspired by films like Public Enemy. That case is replicated here in a story where the characters and the world are so brilliantly crafted that you are plunged into the middle of this drama which turns into a relentless tale of brutality.

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The Thieves (2012)

The Thieves   The Thieves Film Poster

Release Date: July 25th, 2012

Running Time: 135 mins.

Director: Choi Dong-Hun

Writer: Choi Dong-Hun, Lee Gi-Cheol (Screenplay)

Starring: Kim Yun-Seok, Kim Hye-Soo, Lee Jung-Jae. Gianna Jun, Kim Hae-Sook, Kim Soo-Hyun, Simon Yam, Oh Dal-Su. Angelica Lee, Kwok Cheung Tsang

A gifted con-artist is able to take in their mark with a solid sounding story and enough dazzle to distract. A con-artist can get away with anything especially if the audience doesn’t think too hard about the spectacle. The same could also be said about films and so it proves to be true with the Korean mega box-office hit The Thieves (2012), from writer and director Choi Dong-hoon. He crafts a frothy and fun thriller but don’t look too closely or you might be able to see through the con and the story might not add up.

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