Tuesday, 23 December 2014

REVIEW - A HARD DAY (KIM SEONG HOON)


Demented brutality is tempered by a sharp focus on storytelling in Kim Seong Hoon's solid thriller, A Hard Day. Commencing and closing with some thoroughly indelible sequences, it's thus inevitable that the film suffers a prolonged sag through the middle, but I appreciate the attention Kim displays toward crucial cinematic functions. Otherwise, A Hard Day is fairly formulaic, but its simplicity of style affords Kim the ability to keep his film neatly in check, and he operates under the knowledge that the most efficient way of establishing tension is through familiar techniques. Its protagonist a corrupt cop who lands himself in particular bother when he carries away the corpse of a criminal he accidentally knocked down in a hit and run, the film is hardwired for a sustained traffic of tension; Kim loosens his grip only to indulge in mild comic relief or to advance the plot, but it's largely a gripping story, breathlessly edited and never content to rest on its laurels. The narrative restlessness over-complicates matters a little as the film draws closer to its conclusion, but Kim is a strong director of action, making for a rare case where one is actually pleased when things devolve into such set-pieces. The violent showdown at A Hard Day's end is superbly staged, though it can only pale in appearance when compared to the marvellous series of mishaps the protag faces at the film's opening. These scenes are exemplary in their gradual build-up of suspense, with Kim using the character's desperation and his determination, alongside our curiosity as to where he'll take matters next, to engender empathy in us, against considerable odds. It's Kim's diligence, as opposed to his ingenuity, that makes A Hard Day the success that it is