15:00 - 22nd February 2015, by NEO Staff

A Hard Day

This occasionally comical, but generally tense, modern noir from up-and-coming director Kim Seong-hun is a brilliant story of crime, corruption and cranky paranoia. The story introduces us to a dodgy homicide detective called Geon-soo (Lee Sun-kyun) who drives into someone after attending the preparations for his mother’s funeral. Spotting a police car in the distance, Geon-soo takes the dead body from the road and shoves it into his bonnet. Driving onwards, though, he is pulled over anyway – only this time it is for drink driving. To make matters worse, he also has to deal with his wife deciding she wants a divorce. Stressful enough? Not quite – for his entire department has some shady secrets, and a strange gentleman has arrived claiming that he knows all about our leading man’s hit-and-run shenanigans.

There are some brilliant moments in this instant-classic from Korea, from Geon-soo’s haphazard attempt to hide the dead body of the faceless motorway victim in his dear departed parent’s coffin, to a brutal concluding act that proves, once again, that when it comes to violent and unpredictable crime shockers, Seoul remains the world leader. The box for A Hard Day tries to tie it in with Tarantino and John Woo. Take no notice – this lacks the blood and bullets of either. Instead, what you have is a multifaceted exploration of sleazy people engaged in selfish acts – and, whilst none of the characters here are especially likeable, the end result is an absolute joy. Take it from us: for pure exhilarating escapism, this is one of the finest action flicks of the year.

A hard day it might be for the film’s various personalities, but this is a rollercoaster ride of thrills and kills…
SCORE: 4/5
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