A Familiar Refrain: "The Chaser"

By robbiefreeling | REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog January 1, 2010 at 4:20AM

One wouldn’t expect a strictly by-the-numbers thriller to find its way into the Film Comment Selects series, given that the annual event has made its name as a kind of brattier, outré sibling of the more august (read: stiff) New York Film Festival. Yet, The Chaser, a film that straightforwardly follows a former detective turned pimp as he races against the clock to locate one of his girls, who he believes is about to be sold into slavery by her trick, doesn’t surprise, shock or awe. Depending on your preference, it actually does one better: first-time director Na Hong-jin’s solid command of thriller/policier basics results in a comforting ride—thrills, humor and scares are well-parceled, characters develop, cheesy Eighties synth washes abound, the police are all morons, and he’s even managed to breathe some life back into the stolid foot chase (twice!). That he gets away with introducing a sad-eyed precocious kid into the narrative is merely icing. Read Jeff Reichert on The Chaser.
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One wouldn’t expect a strictly by-the-numbers thriller to find its way into the Film Comment Selects series, given that the annual event has made its name as a kind of brattier, outré sibling of the more august (read: stiff) New York Film Festival. Yet, The Chaser, a film that straightforwardly follows a former detective turned pimp as he races against the clock to locate one of his girls, who he believes is about to be sold into slavery by her trick, doesn’t surprise, shock or awe. Depending on your preference, it actually does one better: first-time director Na Hong-jin’s solid command of thriller/policier basics results in a comforting ride—thrills, humor and scares are well-parceled, characters develop, cheesy Eighties synth washes abound, the police are all morons, and he’s even managed to breathe some life back into the stolid foot chase (twice!). That he gets away with introducing a sad-eyed precocious kid into the narrative is merely icing. Read Jeff Reichert on The Chaser.