A HARD DAY
Directed by Kim Seong-hun
Official Selection, Director’s Fortnight, 2014 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival
Things you never want to hear: your windshield smashing when you crash into a pedestrian, a cell phone ringing inside a closed coffin, the questions your peers start asking when they suspect you have something to hide. Gu-soo hears them all and more. Plus it’s the day of his mom’s funeral and his department at work is under investigation. A hard day indeed.
Oh and he’s a cop, and in the storied tradition of Korean action films, that makes him as morally dubious as any character in the film – but one of the more entertaining characters in all of Korean cinema. In this case, he’s a cop who’s trying to clean up the tracks after a hit-and-run accident, which leads him to devise a devilish plan that involves MacGyvering some toys and sneaking into some cramped corners. The kicker of course is that whenever cops are involved, there’s a lot more than blood to clean up.
Director Kim Seong-hun unspools the knotty threads with Hitchcockian glee. The complications accumulate rhythmically, even elegantly, but never without the raucous aggressiveness that’s characterized some of Korea’s best thrillers. Moving the cyclone forward is Lee Sun-kyun (All About My Wife, SDAFF ’12) in the lead role, his face locked into a state of disbelief as his attempts to control his fate spin out like a car swerving on a rainy night. –Brian Hu
Cast: Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Jin-woong, Jeong Man-sik