A pair of dogged detectives and their team of cops go on a grueling 72-day manhunt for an elusive killer.
A pair of dogged detectives and their team of cops go on a grueling 72-day manhunt for an elusive killer.
Injeong sajeong bol geot eobtda, Sin escape
CRITERION CHALLENGE 2021: 44. From the "New Korean Cinema" series
"What's wrong with you—think this is a cops-and-robbers movie?"
In a manner highly reminiscent of the French Cinéma du look movement of the '80s and '90s, South Korean writer/director Lee Myung-se's Nowhere to Hide (인정사정 볼 것 없다) is brimming with optical ingenuity that is often inversely correlated with narrative cogency. In order to clear a runway for his fancy bag of cinematographic techniques (e.g., freeze frames, slo-mo, rack focus, step printing, color manipulation, unconventional wipes/dissolves), Lee relies entirely on familiar archetypes to fashion a brutal, rain-drenched policier—the plot of which can be unironically reduced to "cop chases killer" or "loose cannon cop chases sadistic killer extra hard on…
CRITERION CHALLENGE 2021: 44. From the “New Korean Cinema” series
The extended opening of Lee Myung-se’s grimy crime thriller Nowhere to Hide dives headfirst into pulpy cop versus gangster action that employs bold cinematography, exaggerated acting, and editing, effects and energy reminiscent of House mad scientist Nobuhiko Obayashi.
A graphic novel brought to life, the story is smartly rudimentary: relatively good cop, mischievous and decidedly reckless bad cop and their band of equally immoral colleagues blast and beat their way through Seoul searching for an elusive, highly connected mafioso-murderer transporting a hefty sum of stolen money. The detectives are appropriately barbaric—Park Joong-hoon is the obvious standout as loutish rascal Detective Woo, while Choi Ji-Woo offers a nice reprieve…
Films as delectably over-stylized as Nowhere to Hide are what I live for, and one of the reasons why I love South Korean cinema. Films like this and Oldboy blend action, humor, and pure craftsmanship in ways that are so damn engaging. Joong-Hoon Park chews every last bit scenery as the violent and playful Detective Woo who is hunting down the perpetrators of the "40 Steps Murders" at all costs. Said murder being one of the greatest pieces of filmmaking I've ever seen, replete with the Bee Gees song "Holiday." I liken a film like this to the work of a South Korean Seijun Suzuki, but I can totally see this being a Wai Ka-fai by way of Takashi Miike. Gloriously over the top, this style-over-substance action comedy is highly recommended for a simple, unpretentious good time.
"The sound of a typewriter at daybreak is like a lullaby to a detective"
Nowhere to Hide is hyper stylized to the point where it is a film that will either work for you or will be repellant. You'll know within about a half hour one way or another. It's a slick detective noir with heavy Sergio Leone nods (including the Harmonica Man theme briefly at one point), comic book sensibilities and anime action logic. All this combines into something that feels unique and is definitely worth seeing at least once. Though it isn't all that similar, it kind of reminds me of how I felt watching the few Seijun Suzuki movies I've seen for reasons I can't quite put…
I can absolutely appreciate the visual style(s) here, exhausting and distracting though they are, and I can admire Lee Myung-se‘s refusal to be limited by technical and visual traditions. My main issue with the movie is, in fact, far more mundane: if you introduce your cast of cops by repeatedly showing me ‘hilarious’ footage of the hijinks they get up to when they beat the shit out of and/or torture suspects, you cannot then expect me to turn around and find them adorable, or root for their success.
Grady Hendrix wrote a great article about expectations and the cinema of Director/Writer Lee Myung-Se that articulates a lot of feelings I experienced when I first saw NOWHERE TO HIDE in the early aughts. It didn’t feature the action I wanted, style I thought was satisfying, or the structure I had come to expect - so I rejected it. I’m kind of surprised that something so radical, pushing up against conventions at every turn, was embraced as ‘cool cinema’ in the hot second when South Korea cinema was penetrating North America. It has more in common with the visual experimentation of Frank Tashlin then Yuen Wo-Ping, but it makes sense, as it deals with the genre conventions of the cops and robbers stories that continue to be the country’s most prolific cinematic output.
the cinematography snapped
The more I pondered Nowhere to Hide, the more I realize that this over stylized, zany, and generally inexperienced filmmaking doesn't quite work. It's not interested in telling a story, but wishes to engage you with the hectic pacing and energy, expecting you to be along for the ride. It unfortunately peaks after the first scene but maintains the pacing in the editing and stage direction until it becomes overbearing on the rest of the film. So, if the first scene doesn't appeal to you, good luck because there's another 110 minutes of the same.
Spastic movie which is focused more on visuals rather than story. It has a very straight forward plot which is surprisingly hard to follow at times because of how fast everything is moving and constantly shifting.
That being said, it is a fun experience. A combination of unique camera techniques, energetic fight scenes, and well thought out laughs.
Unfortunately, it’s disjointed style is what brings it down, and will turn away potential viewers, rewatches, or the same kind of critical acclaim that a lot of other South Korean films receive.
Not being from South Korean, and only getting into their cinema starting with Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan-wook, and Kim Ji-soon before branching out to others, I know that 1999 was…
Wished i liked this one a lot more. Its very highly stylized and flashily edited--Justin in his review compared it to Guy Ritchie, and that's not a bad comparison except as a movie this isn't remotely as jokey or lighthearted--everyone in this is super serious and grim, but the action scenes in here are very lively and flamboyant and very much shot in a way that you can feel every fist thrown (if that makes sense) so i can definitely see the comparison. (Then in the back half it kinda starts to resemble Wong Kar-Wai a little) I wished I was into the story unfolding here--i found it kinda hard to get into and as a result my enjoyment of…
I groaned when I first saw the disgusting aspect ratio on Criterion, but the film is very stylish with a lot of fun action. However, when you make the villain more likeable than the leads, you should probably deliver a more suitable ending.
Jang Dong-gun may be a star but his character is a blank slate here, and I’ve disliked Park Joong-hoon since I saw his guest appearance on Running Man. Character development was needed to change my mind about him, and it wasn’t there.
The Criterion version is 12 minutes shorter than the original domestic version so perhaps they cut out the character stuff?
A wonderfully avant-garde experiment in sound/music, choreography, and jagged editing, all with an intriguing Korean noir narrative in the background.
최지우의 하얀 얼굴, 장동건의 목검, 안성기의 선글라스, 박중훈의 두 주먹.
Lee Myung-se makes an almost two-hour sizzle reel of action-film FX at the expense of virtually everything else that is usually added to complicate and distinguish a generic cop drama. And who needs a plot when you have character descriptions: the girlfriend of the killer, the cop exasperated by his partner's obsession with stake-outs, the elusive criminal with a knack for disguise, etc. If you don't enjoy arbitrary step-printed slow motion in the silky rain, or badly dated proto-Prisma photo-to-"painting," or the opening switch from monochrome to full-color ("Was that a flashback or what?"), or just generally an exhausting cascade of kitsch effects in the spirit of Korean l'art pour l'art—then you have to wonder if you should stop listening…
연출과 각본의 부정교합. 이명세 감독이 강력반에서 1년을 허투로 보낸게 아닌 듯한 강력반 형사들의 고충과 애환 그리고 일상을 과감없이 적어낸 듯한 각본이 인상적이지만, 그와 동시에 (그 자체로는 괜찮은) 만화나 애니메이션을 보는 듯한 과장된 연출이 각본과 어울리지 않는다. 이명세 감독의 영화를 <인정사정 볼 것 없다>로 처음 봐 그의 명성만 들었지 연출을 어떻게 하는지는 잘 몰랐는데, 확실히 왕가위와 비교되는게 이해될 정도로 화려하고 스타일리쉬 하다. 그것이 부정적인 평을 받는 것도 여러 개 있겠지만 확실히 이 영화와는 잘 맞지 않는다는 생각이 든다. 일단 영화 속 액션은 대부분이 달리기이며 일상은 대부분이 잠복이다. 이렇게 현실적인 형사 영화가 있었나 싶을정도로 극사실적이다. 하지만 그 와중에도 지루하지 않은 이유는 어찌보면 위에서 어울리지 않는다고 말한 연출에 있을지도 모르겠다. 특히 달리는 장면을 계속 찍는데 그것이 지루하지 않는 이유는 구도를 이리저리 바꾸면서, 스타일리쉬하게…
A flurry of action and genre abstraction is carried off with impressive verve and impeccable skill in Lee's gangster noir actioner, the plot blurring into inconsequentiality and the moment to moment thrill of his mixtape like filmmaking--borrowing from everything from melancholy noir and hyper-violent action to mimicking the panel-by-panel action of comics with his freeze frames and elisions.
Loved how this movie started - there was a lot of humour, which was (in my opinion) augmented by the hyper-stylized film making. The absurdity of the lengths these cops would go to nab the killer had me laughing out loud. It was fun!
And then, somewhere around halfway, it started to lose steam. The plot formula started to repeat, and the film leaned more and more into the action flick tropes. The zany, dark comedic pieces fell away. (An exception in the latter half is the fight scene on the train - soooo fun). Such a strong start with such a tiresome ending is a bit disappointing!
Stylish cops n criminals fun. It’s not deep and it drags at points, but never for too long and it’s personality carries it a long way. Just a cool action movie.
Pretty bizarre! Features the tone- and genre-mashing characteristic of other Korean New Wave movies but with none of the care for theme or even narrative coherence. If in the 90's Michael Mann had learned Korean, had a brain hemorrhage, and hired his teenage nephew to edit using an early version of iMovie, he would have made something similar to this
The soft body main detective dresses like the lead singer of the New Radicals, but the movie still convinces you he could win a fistfight with an assassin. That’s powerful filmmaking.
Can't believe I almost missed out on this one from Criterion Channel's Korean New Wave selection. What seemingly starts as a detective action film becomes infused with an experimental style that essentially deconstructs itself as it goes along. As you can imagine, the narrative gets a bit lost in the haze, preferring the visuals and editing over telling a cohesive story. Even if the film has trouble sustaining itself in the end, it still makes for an incredibly bold experiment.
I went into this expecting it to be a slick, brutal cat-n-mouse thriller, something that a Kim Jee-Woon type would make. Instead, this is a borderline incomprehensible, Godardian deconstruction of the police movie. I’d see it in a theatre in an instant.
Lee delivers one wildly exciting set piece after another until it eventually just ends, no lengthy denouement necessary. It’s a pretty successful case for style over substance.
Such is the synergistic power of music and film that some "Ruby Tuesday"-ass Bee Gees song I've never heard before - that would have made no impression even if I had - is now camped out in my head indefinitely.
NarpJay 1,705 films
This list started as a joke. But then people started liking it, so I was compelled to continue it. But…