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The chase is on

PUBLISHED: 14:03 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 17:11 16 August 2010

SOUTH Korean director Hong-Jin s Na debut effort is a pacy, atmospheric police thriller that recalls the dark brooding excesses of David Fincher. Kim Yun-seok stars as Joong-ho, a disgraced former cop-turned-pimp who looks after a gro

THE CHASER

CERT 18

SOUTH Korean director Hong-Jin's Na debut effort is a pacy, atmospheric police thriller that recalls the dark brooding excesses of David Fincher.

Kim Yun-seok stars as Joong-ho, a disgraced former cop-turned-pimp who looks after a group of girls working in Seoul's red-light district.

He finds himself in financial difficulties after several of his girls disappear without clearing their debts.

When he sets off to find what is happening, he discovers that all of the missing girls were called by the same client, a creepy serial killer named Young-Min (Jung-woo Ha) who he soon realises has just arranged a meeting with one of his best girls Mi-jin (Yeong-Hie Seo).

Joong-ho promptly tracks down the killer but Mi-Jin is nowhere to be seen. The rest of the movie is taken up with a race against time as the ex-cop struggles to find Mi-Jin before the corrupt, indifferent police are forced to release him due to a 12 hour custody limit.

By inverting the plot usually found in the genre, the tension is provided by a race to find a victim - not the killer - as is usual. Na wisely concentrates on building this tension as the time runs out, rather than resorting to gratuitous scenes of butchery as is now the norm - though there are some grisly torture scenes early on in the film, and the finale cranks the tension up to a shockingly intense level.

The film announces Hong-jin Na as yet another talented filmmaker from South Korea willing to push the envelope and venture into areas where Hollywood fears to tread. See it now before it gets ruined by the inevitable English language remake.

* The Chaser opens in cinemas on Friday.

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