The Yellow Sea

The Yellow Sea

Na Hong-jin (2010)

140min
18 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This intense, murky thriller from Na Hong-jin reunites the writer/director with the stars of his excellent debut, The Chaser. Ha Jung-woo stars as Gu-nam, a man driven to drink and gambling after his wife leaves their home on the Chinese border to look for work in Korea, and promptly disappears. He's then left with no choice but to accept an offer from local crime lord Myun Jung-hak (an imposing Kim Yoon-suk) to carry out a hit in order to clear his debts. In a disorientating sequence, Gu-nam is smuggled into Korea, where he prepares to bump off a wealthy businessman - only to discover that he's not the only would-be assassin on the block. This first hour makes for a slow and suspenseful build-up, at which point the film explodes into violence, as the pursuer suddenly becomes the pursued: wanted by the police, his own shady paymaster and the local mob. The ensuing carnage is punctuated by some exhilarating chase scenes, but the endless stabbing, hacking and bludgeoning does become a little wearisome, while Gu-nam's search for his errant wife offers no respite from the downbeat mood. Na certainly knows how to spin a compelling yarn, although the ambiguous ending and various loose plot threads are likely to frustrate those looking for a tidy resolution to the overlong, convoluted mayhem.

Summary

A taxi driver living in an area on the borders of Russia, China and Korea ends up in debt to gangsters due to his gambling habit. A crime boss offers him a clean slate if he goes to South Korea and kills a man. He hopes to track down his missing wife while he is there, but the mission does not go to plan. Crime thriller, starring Jung-woo Ha and Yun-seok Kim. In Korean.

Cast & Crew

Gu-nam Ha Jung-woo
Myun Jung-hak Kim Yoon-suk
Kim Tae-won Cho Seong-ha
Choi Sung-nam Lee Chul-min
Professor Kim Seung-hyun Kwak Byoung-kyu
Professor Kim's wife Lim Ye-won
Gu-nam's wife Tak Sung-eun
Joo-young Lee El
Director Na Hong-jin
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Other Information

Language: Korean +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Bounty FilmsGuidance: Violence, sex scenes.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 21 Oct 2011
Drama