I have 469 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to watch one thing for every five that I add, but now my library is close to being full and I have to make room. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for you and the next for me and so on. Let’s get to it.
What’s the movie? The Chaser (2008)
What’s it rated? Unrated for a very crazy serial killer, some extremely horrifying head injuries and an abundance of foot chases.
Did people make it? Written by Na Hong-jin and Lee Shin-ho. Directed by Na Hon-jin. Acted by Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jeong-woo, Seo-Yeong-hee and Kim Yoo-jeong.
What’s it like in one sentence? If Jack Bauer was a Korean pimp having a really bad day.
Why did you watch it? Chewers fxenderby and Louis Pantelakos Jr. made me do it and for good reason.
What’s it about in one paragraph?A pimp named Eom Joong-ho notices that his stable of ladies is shrinking, so he starts searching the city (using his skills as an ex-police officer) for his missing dollar makers. Meanwhile, we meet the man who has been killing the prostitutes and watch as the pimp and the serial killer get closer to meeting until their final, bloody convergence.
Play or remove from my queue? Play the holy hell out of this one. This is so much better than last week’s The Man From Nowhere that it’s almost unfair to compare them. The Chaser has strong character development, slowly rising tension that builds until it explodes, an absolutely shattering climax and some of the best acting I’ve seen in a while. Everything about this film just feels expertly done and it’s a true masterclass on what the definition of a thriller is. The final 30 minutes of the film held me to the edge of my seat and there are several suspense beats throughout the film that will absolutely make you squirm.
The killer in The Chaser is sick and extraordinarily crazy. When we first meet him he is living in the house of some people he killed as if it’s the most normal thing in the world…except for the fact that he has a dozen bodies buried in the yard. He’s impotent and prefers to kill female prostitutes, but does not hesitate to kill anyone who might discover his secret impulses, man or woman. Ha Jeong-woo plays the role to the hilt, never playing evil or crazy, but existing as it. The performance is hypnotizing and fascinating in equal measure.
The pimp cop is played with physical abandon by Kim Yoon-seok. I’ve never seen this guy in anything before, but his is a name I won’t forget (probably), because I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a performance so physically brutal and demanding. Kim is always fighting everyone he comes in contact with, whether it be verbally, physically or mentally and it is absolutely exhausting watching him. If he’s not running, he’s yelling and if he’s not yelling then he’s deep in thought, figuring out his next move. This is hands down the best performance I’ve seen this year so far, even though the film is a few years old.
When these two characters come together (which happens fairly early in the film), it’s a fireworks display that burns your eyebrows off, but you keep watching anyway. The structure of the film is such that you know what’s going on much earlier than everyone else does, but instead of feeling frustrating (like you’re smarter than everyone) it helps build up the tension to almost unbearable levels. I have to wait until next week to get into the specific spoilers about the heart pounding finale and the three or five action beats that were absolute showstoppers, but I’ll leave you with this: watch this movie and revel in it. It is suspense and action filmmaking at its finest and the film will haunt your thoughts long after the credits roll. An absolute one of a kind masterpiece.
Do you have a favorite line? When the killer, under his breath and laughing, confesses to killing the prostitutes, I got a chill all the way up my spine. This isn’t much of a spoiler, as it happens in the first 30 minutes of the film.
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? In 2008, Warner Bros. bought the rights to this, with William Monahan set for scripting duties. There hasn’t been any forward momentum on this in a while but, with the right actors, an American remake might be pretty badass.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Righteous Ties (added this to my queue last week), Secret (more Korean guilt! I love it!), No Mercy (also in the queue. Will watch soon), Lady Vengeance (the underrated part of the Vengeance Trilogy), I Saw the Devil (one of my favorite movies of last year).
What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? I Saw the Devil followed by this would make for a fucked up, but brilliant double feature.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 4.2
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 4.5
Can you link to the movie? Sure!
Any last thoughts? We’ll talk more next week. But yeah, please watch this movie.
Did you watch anything else this week? Mass Effect. Oh, and I saw Friends With Kids (not bad) and started Season 1 of The Killing (so far, so good).
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, The Man From Nowhere? You know, to be honest, almost every detail about this movie has left me other than the awesome shot that follows the hero out a second story window and all the way to the ground and the stunning climactic knife fight. Forgettable action cinema at its best, I guess.
Next Week? Elite Squad-The Enemy Within or The Robber?