Monday, November 30, 2015

No one, not even a cop, deserves this day

A Hard Day, South Korean director Kim Seong-hun’s second film, which screened last weekend at the Detroit Film Theatre, is a cop corruption drama that provides a sufficient amount of thrills and spills and competed in the Directors’ Fortnight at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Seong-hun came up with what I’m sure he thought was an imaginative premise. Have a cop - or it really could have been anyone - go through the trials and tribulations of one particularly god awful day. The cop is Detective Ko Gun-su (Lee Sun-kyun). You see, all he’s trying to do is get to his mother’s funeral, which is bad enough. But he ends up hitting a body on a deserted road, freaks, and decides to dump the dead man in his car trunk. I’m not sure why he didn’t just come clean as it was an honest mistake but I’ll leave that up to the filmmaker. The funny part comes when he has to get rid of the body. Guess what? His mom’s casket makes the perfect place to hide the evidence. “I’ll make it up to you, mom,” he pleas. There’s one problem. Someone of course has seen him. It’s another cop on the force, a guy who really is corrupt, as in trafficking in narcotics and other underworld activities corrupt, Lt. Park Chang-min (Cho Jin-woong). He decides to blackmail our hero, and the film proceeds in a kind of Bullitt (Peter Yates, 1968) style chase as Gun-su seeks to discover and eliminate his adversary. The roller coaster ride, often imbued with humour, will be sure to get your adrenaline churning. South Korean films tend to be good at delivering high octane drama and I’ve seen better than this. Park Chan-wook’s 2003 Old Boy or Boon Joon-ho’s 2006 The Host come to mind. And while movies about police corruption are genre standards Seong-hun implicitly paints the entire police force in this movie, set in Seoul, as corrupt, right down to the guys taking the breathalyzer tests. I’m getting a little tired of movies that, almost in knee-jerk fashion, paint everyone, especially cops, with one stroke. Maybe it’s the times but I’m waiting for a film that makes heroics, flaws and all, of the police. Any takers?

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) artistic director Cameron Bailey will make a rare Windsor appearance this Thursday at the Art Gallery of Windsor. He’ll be taking part in a discussion on a future cultural strategy for Ontario, sponsored by the provincial government. The event gets underway at 7 pm. 

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