Joong-ho Eom (Yun-seok Kim, Tazza: The High Rollers) is an ex-police detective who was kicked out of the force for his involvement in illegal activities. Disgraced and broke, the ex-detective starts a second career as a pimp. Business is booming until his “working girls” begin vanishing without a trace. When Joong-ho realizes a serial killer (Jung-woo Ha, The Terror Live) is behind the mysterious disappearances, he decides to track down the psychopath.
Reaction & Thoughts:
Hong-jin Na’s breathtaking thriller The Chaser (aka Chugyeogja) can be compared favorably with The Silence of the Lambs and Seven. Believe it or not, the screenplay by Hong-jin Na, Shinho Lee and Won-Chan Hong is based on a true story. Yes, in this case, the old adagio applies: “truth is stranger than fiction”.
Director Hong-jin Na (making his screen début) and his team milk the concept of a sleazy movie hero hunting down a sadistic psychopath for all it’s worth. A bouquet of black roses go to Yun-seok Kim for giving an extraordinarily effective performance. Jung-woo Ha is a great adversary.
There are many moments of ugly violence in the movie that will linger in the mind of the viewer. The snap shots of grotesque terror aren’t gratuitous, though. Hong-jin Na uses these repulsive images to illustrate that when local law enforcement agencies are in disarray, the quality of life plummets. It’s an interesting social message that makes the movie its backbone.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
The Chaser is a gritty suspenser with an interesting social commentary, not for the squeamish. Highly recommended! Color, 125 minutes, Rated R.