January 7, 2014

Korean Cinema - The Chaser

I felt like I hadn’t seen a non-cartoon movie in months, so I decided it was time to go in the complete opposite direction by watching a Korean film. I’d heard The Chaser was decent and available on Netflix so I decided to check it out.

Even though I don’t like horror movies I have become quite a fan of Korean films that show quite a bit of gore. I really liked Oldboy, Mother, and even I Saw The Devil. Mother wasn’t bad at all, but both Oldboy and I Saw The Devil get pretty gruesome. I’d say The Chaser was on par with those films, retty harsh, but with a couple scenes that were even more difficult to watch.

The movie is pretty intense at the beginning and then goes through a long slow spot in the middle… then completely defies convention for an ending I never saw coming. Without that ending I wouldn’t have liked the film nearly as well. Not that the ending was enjoyable to watch, but it was a powerful way to close out the film. Sometimes I wonder if I am being manipulated by a director into believing the film is better that what it actually is. This might be the case here. They take advantage of the viewer’s emotions, but it works. There is a lot about The Chaser that is pretty mediocre leading up to the last act. I was able to forgive all of that because of how intense and effective the last 20 minutes were. Even if it was manipulative, it did it well.

The Chaser is probably sitting in the middle of the road among all the Korean films I have seen. I’d probably recommend all 3 of the aforementioned ones over The Chaser, but if you have a Netflix subscription and some free time it is worth a watch.

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