Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
A Hard Day: Moderately Corrupt and Terribly Unlucky
the standards of the Seoul police force, Det. Go Gun-soo is only moderately
corrupt—a few minor payoffs here and there, no big deal. He is also a
reasonably decent father, so we can root for him with a clear conscience while
also enjoying every one-darned-thing-after-another that falls on his thoroughly
compromised head in Kim Seong-hun’s A Hard
opens Friday in New York.
day has already been one Go would prefer to forget. He has just been served
divorce papers from his soon-to-be ex-wife while preparing for his mother’s
funeral. It is an especially inconvenient time for the service, considering
Internal Affairs is breathing down his neck. In his rush to cover up some incriminating
evidence, Go apparently runs over some mysterious derelict with his car. He
feels real bad about it, but what’s done is done. To save his neck (or so he
thinks), Go manages to stash the body in his mother’s casket just before the
course, Go soon figures out that was no vagrant, that was a prime suspect, who
was somehow in league with the crooked Lt. Park Chang-min. Park is not simply a
little bent like Go. He is a full blown gangster and he makes it his business
to torment Go.
visits more trouble upon poor, meatheaded Go than Job himself endured, but his
wickedly black humor makes it all sadistically fun to watch. Somehow he keeps
topping himself with clever plot twists and super-charged fight scenes. It is
slick, tense, and loaded with cynical attitude. Yet, it is the “gee-whiz-now-what?”
face of Lee Sun-kyun (better known for Hong Sang-soo dramedies) that really
sells the bedlam.
is definitely a testosterone driven film, featuring a hardnosed ensemble that
really looks like a shady police precinct, especially Jeong Man-sik and Shin
Jung-kuen as Go’s exasperated colleague and his world weary squad chief,
respectively. Cho Jin-woong is also just flamboyantly evil enough as Lt. Park,
without ever going excessively over the top.
is just impressive to see A Hard Day careen
about at such a deliriously breakneck speed. The energy and the humor never
flag, while it ends on a rather ironic but wholly satisfying note. For fans of
action movies and police corruption thrillers, A Hard Day is indeed the real deal. Highly recommended, it opens
this Friday (7/17) in New York, at the Village East.
Labels: Cop Movies, Korean Cinema