Terése Flynn’s review published on Letterboxd:
The title Black Coal, Thin Ice is suiting on so many levels to the point that it almost becomes silly. So in this review I will call it by its actual name Daylight Fireworks. Hopefully I can resist the temptation of filling this review with puns if I use that title instead of the English one.
Daylight Fireworks begins in the same way as oh so many action and thriller movies. We have a cop with a wife that divorces him, a couple of colleagues of his' gets killed, he hits the bottle, and now he's a drunken ex-cop that really haven't let go of that unresolved murder case. On a street corner there's a woman working in a laundry, and she has something to do with that unresolved murder, and some years later a couple of other murders can also be connected to her. Our drunken ex-cop just can't keep his fingers off the case, and off her.
Sound familiar? Well, Daylight Fireworks doesn't really head in the direction that many other crime movies would've. And then I'm mainly thinking about Korean movies, and I'm not talking about there being a twist of some kind (even though there kind of is), no, I'm talking about that Daylight Fireworks never becoming a crime movie at all. Just as there's no sensation in the violence and spectacular action scenes, just a realism that is kind of chilling. And the lovestory between the laundry woman and the ex-cop is one of the most depressing romances I've ever witnessed. She's reluctant right up until the end. Making every move from the detective feel creepy and in molestation territory. At this moment that I'm writing this I'm actually trying to recall if there even were one smile in this movie, and I'm pretty sure there's some smiling around a dinner table at the end of this film.
Even though this movie is dark, I believe there's still some darkness left unexplored. There's also a small amount of comical reliefs thrown into this dark slow burner that worked sometimes, but just didn't do the movie any good at other times. And considering how effective the short and sudden violent scenes were, there might as well been more of them instead of telling us over and over again that ice is slippery.
This got oddly negative. I that actually enjoyed this movie. Always when this happen while writing I get unsure of why I liked the movie in the first place. But I guess it was the general tone of it. The gloomy snowy streets. The silence. The simple yet well-presented story... Yes, I did like this movie after all. Now I can go to bed feeling a little less confused.