Austin News

|

East Meets West Oaks returns with THE CHASER, one of the best thrillers you’ve probably never seen

Don’t wait for the inevitable American remake. If you are a fan of thrillers, THE CHASER is a must watch – and we have the best method for you to do so. Presented as part of our East Meets West Oaks series, THE CHASER will screen in 35mm this Sunday, May 13 at West Oaks. Watching an Asian action film on the big screen in beautiful 35mm? Nope, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday either.

East Meets West Oaks returns with THE CHASER, one of the best thrillers you’ve probably never seen

There’s a reason why THE CHASER was a blockbuster hit in its native South Korea upon its release in 2008. Director Hong-jin Na’s tense thriller is one of the best serial killer movies to be released in the last decade.

While cop vs. killer movies are about as common in most non-Alamo theaters as sticky floors and talking teenagers, most American-made serial killer films are about as creative as a sack of potatoes. For all those who’ve had to sit through a movie where a headstrong FBI Agent plays cat and mouse with an all-too omnipresent evil genius with a murderous shtick, THE CHASER is the perfect remedy — smart without being too clever, appropriately dark without being heartless and featuring enough twists and turns to keep audiences from feeling like the only thing being killed is their time.

This tense tone is especially amazing considering THE CHASER is a film in which the serial killer is caught by the movie’s half-hour mark.

Kim Yoon-seok plays Eorm Joong-ho, a former police officer turned pimp. With a quick temper and an uncaring demeanor, Joong-ho is not your typical film hero. At times, the pimp is just as unlikable as Je Yeong-min, a baby-faced murderer of women played by Ha Jeong-woo.

Yeong-min has been preying upon the city’s supply of prostitutes for several weeks now. Joong-ho at first believes his women are merely running away – It isn’t until he discovers one of his prostitute’s cell phones that he realizes there may be something suspicious afoot in regards to their disappearances. Instead of immediately turning to the cops or confronting their last john, though, Joong-ho hands over one of his last remaining prostitutes - Kim Mi-jin, a single mother with a cold played by Seo Yeong-hee - to Yeong-min, so that she can report back on where the suspect lives. Joong-ho believes the john is part of a slave trading ring and wishes to kick some ass and get back his girls. Mi-jin is just the bait.

Naturally, things don’t go to plan and Mi-jin becomes the latest captive of Yong-min. Through a chain of events, Yong-min is actually captured by Joong-ho, who has been staking out the neighborhood. Placed in police custody, Yong-min instantly admits to killing a dozen people — something Joong-ho refuses to believe. Thinking the young man is just acting crazy to escape justice, he sets out to tack down the truth.

From there, the movie really takes off — becoming a crazy hybrid between HBO’s genius crime procedural show “The Wire” and a David Fincher film. South Korea has become a top-notch importer of revenge flicks. While revenge is only a small part of what drives Joong-ho’s quest — it is the cataclysm that turns the hardened pimp into a monster of righteous anger and retribution.  By combining the best parts of a police procedural with the South Korean revenge genre, THE CHASER becomes a film that fires on all cylinders — pushing audiences along on a dark path that can only lead to tragedy.

Despite its two hour running time, the film is briskly paced. The story plays out like one of the better seasons of 24 — with enough torture and wrong turns to make Jack Bauer blush. Aside from an expertly laid out plot, THE CHASER is also an amazing film to look at. A brutal movie seeped in beautiful shadows and lush cinematography; the movie is one of the best-looking serial killer movies to come around in a while.

Don’t wait for the inevitable American remake. If you are a fan of thrillers, THE CHASER is a must watch – and we have the best method for you to do so. Screening as part of our East Meets West Oaks series, THE CHASER will screen in 35mm this Sunday, May 13 at West Oaks. Watching an Asian action film on the big screen in beautiful 35mm? Nope, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday either.

Sunday, May 13 @ 6:30 PM - West Oaks

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus