Movie review by EDF
Starring: Lee Byung-Hun, Choi Min-Sik, Chun Kook-Haun, Chun Ho-Jin
Director: Kim Jee-Woon
One snowy night, a young woman Ju-yeon (San-ha Oh) has car trouble and calls for the tow truck. While she is waiting, she phones her fiance Kim Soo-hyun (Byung-hun Lee). Midway through her conversation, Kyung-Chul (Min-sik Choi) is driving past and stops to offer to help. Soo-hyun tells Ju-yeon to refuse the offer, and she politely refuses the stranger his help. Ju-yeon ends her phone conversation and notices that the stranger has not driven away. As she is pondering on this, Kyung-Chul brutally attacks Ju-yeon and takes her unconscious body to a warehouse. Ju-yeon wakes up, naked with her limbs stretched, tied to pillars. She begs for her life but Kyung-Chul has already decided what her fate will be.
Police eventually find Ju-yeon’s various body parts. What the killer did not count on is that Ju-yeon is the daughter of Squad Chief Jang (Gook-hwan Jeon). This time it will not be just the police that will hunt the killer. Kim Soo-hyun will be looking for vengeance of his own. Jang gives Soo-hyun information on the four worst criminals who would commit this sort of violent murder. Soo-hyun goes after them one by one, and they each suffer violent retribution but when Soo-hyun comes across Kyung-Chul, he puts up a fight and escapes. Soo-hyun turns this into a game of cat and mouse, promising Kyung-Chul that he will turn his life into a nightmare.
This movie has stirred up some controversy for it’s portrayal of women who fall prey to the violent acts of a serial killer. As this is not your typical glossy Hollywood movie, the characters and the murders portrayed seem very real and their circumstances can be unsettling viewing for some. The two lead actors are extremely watchable as Byung-hun Lee’s secret agent character goes from the grieving fiance to vengeful killer and all the while is descending into darkness, blinded by his unwavering obsession in making life hell for the serial killer. Meanwhile Min-sik Choi in the role of the serial killer, plays it cold, calculating, even unemotional to his victims cries but later becomes unhinged and mentally unbalanced as his once controlled world crumbles down around him.
Best of all though is the direction and the cinematography. Director Jee-woon Kim gets the best out of his two lead actors. The action scenes are shot very well and the camera work especially in the taxi scene is amazing. Even though the movie is over two hours long, it does not drag too much as you are taken in by the story, fascinated to where it will take you next. This movie will not be to everyone’s liking as it is far darker than SEVEN and Kyung-Chul would have Hannibal Lector for breakfast, lunch, tea and midnight snack.