Directed by Korean genre-star Kim Jee-woon (The Quiet Family and The Good, The Bad, The Weird), the film follows a government agent as he goes off the rails when his fiancée is brutally murdered.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Love it or hate it, you definitely won’t forget it. What should be repellent viewing is anything but in Kim Jee-woon’s dazzling and gorgeously crafted thriller. This genre-bender takes the Spy vs Spy antics of cop and serial killer to such devilish extremes that it may be too intense for some viewers. Choi Min-sik (Old Boy), a part-time bus driver and full-time sicko, destroys intelligence service agent Lee Byung-hun’s (A Bittersweet Life) world with one beastly act, beginning a cycle of madness and brutality for both men. With respectful nods to The Killer, Last House on the Left and Dirty Harry, the film teeters on an uneasy highwire of audience manipulation, creating empathy for a protagonist who goes from just hero to full-blown sadist. Elevating it beyond pure nastiness is its oddball humour and the confounding way that we end up entranced by the deeply disturbing and yet poignant human connection between the men. — AT