The Chaser (Chugyeogja)
- Kaleem Aftab
- 18 September 2008
(18) 124min **
South Korean director and screenwriter Na Hong-jin’s festival award winning debut is this year’s largest grossing domestic film in its homeland and, unsurprisingly, Leonardo DiCaprio has snapped up the remake rights. Astounding really, considering how mediocre this thriller actually is. Cobbled together from bits of Oldboy, Memories of Murder and The Silence of the Lambs, then polished up with the wax of misogyny and dead prostitutes, The Chaser is wholly unsurprising.
Ex-cop Joong-ho (Kim Yun-seok) works as a pimp and is furious that two of his girls have run away while a third Mi-jin (Seo Yeong-hie) says she’s too sick to work. He forces the flailing mother to abandon her child and attend to a client. It turns out that the client is brutal serial killer Young-min (Ha Jung-woo, great in Kim Ki-duk’s Time). With its erratic pacing and sadistic hero, what starts as an intriguing procedural quickly descends into a tenuous game of cat-and-mouse that is buoyed up by frequent gut-churning violence.
Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow and selected release from Fri 19 Sep.