Tag: Korean film

Netflix Pick: ‘The Man From Nowhere’

The Man From Nowhere (2010)
Directed by Jeong-beom Lee
In Korean with English subtitles
119 mins.

By Tim Lucia

Korean films are always dark, and The Man From Nowhere is no exception.  Although it is still not as dark as any film by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Sympathy For Mr. Vengance) whose films could be described by Sam Elliott as “darker than a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night”.  Jeong-beom Lee’s film is somewhat similar to Tony Scott’s Man on Fire, but without Scott’s trademark hyper-editing.  Former badass special agent Tae-shik (Bin Won) lives a lonely existence as a pawn shop owner after the tragic death of his wife.  He eventually befriends a young girl named So-mi (Sae-ron Kim) whose mother is a drug mule for a local gang.  Tae-shik is given the product by the mother, and soon both she and So-mi are both kidnapped by the ruthless gang.  Tae-shik rushes to their aid and quickly finds the mother murdered, and fears the same will happen to So-mi.  He then infiltrates the gang and begins taking out its members in a brutal, albeit kick-ass, fashion.  The Man From Nowhere is an intense, gritty, action-thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  One of the better action films in the past few years.

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Netflix Instant Pick of the Week

Mother (2009)
Directed by Joon-ho Bong
In Korean with English subtitles
129 mins.

By Tim Lucia

Director Joon-ho Bong’s previous films include The Host and Memories of Murder, and he has hit a home run with his latest film, Mother.  The narrative revolves around a mentally challenged young man and his protective mother.  After a murder rocks the town, the alibi-free boy becomes the main suspect.  When the legal system fails him, the mother sets out to prove her son’s innocence, desperately taking drastic measures to do so.  Bong and his co-writer Eun-kyo Park have crafted an excellent, well-layered story, rich with character development, conflicts, and social commentary.  This cinematography was incredible, as is the case with most Korean films.  Heavy and dark, but not over-violent, Mother is an outstanding, powerful film, a must-see for lovers of International cinema.  Even a general movie fan could enjoy it, especially fans of crime and mystery films.