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Wednesday’s What You Should Watch – The Chaser

For this week’s edition, we’ve got another film from South Korea.  Considering watching “The Chaser“.  It’s an incredibly violent, gritty, and intense film about a former cop-turned pimp who tried to track down the killer of one of his prostitutes.  Mark my words when I say it is VIOLENT.  I’ve watched a lot of movies and some scenes in this had me turning away.  But if you can stand it, the film is one of the finest crafted thrillers you will ever see.  It’s no surprise that Warner Brothers has already picked the rights for an American remake with Leonardo DiCaprio possibly attached.

A movie like this requires a good villain.  In this film, Ha Jeong-woo, plays a serial killer who personifies evil.  He is cold, calculating, and incredibly brutal.  By showing him in action from very early on, the movie allows us to hate him, fear him, and care about his victims.  We want to see him get his due.  Chasing him is a pimp, who was formerly a somewhat unstable cop.  It’s not that we like him, so much as we dislike the bad guy and want to see him get caught.  But our hero knows how to run an investigation and begins to conduct one himself when his girls start to disappear after they go to see a certain client.  They meet face to face in a freak turn of events that involves the use of a cell phone to ascertain an identity.  It leads to a foot chase through narrow alleys and eventually to one of those great moments which builds audience frustration because we know and the hero knows just what is going on, but the authorities can’t be convinced.  Meanwhile, an innocent life is at stake and the clock is ticking.

The climax of the film epitomizes the thriller genre.  It toys with our emotions, uses the information that we know, that characters don’t know, to tweak our anticipation, to force us to watch events unfold.  It creates true suspense, because like Hitchcock said, we know there’s a bomb under the table and we’re just waiting for it go off.  Again, this is a brutal film, on par with the darkness of “Se7en” but for fans of the genre, it’s incredibly rewarding.


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