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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

[7.75/10] This Man a.k.a. The Man from Nowhere (2010)


This Man

a.k.a.
The Man from Nowhere (2010)

An ex-special agent CHA Tae-shik’s only connection to the rest of the world is a little girl, So-mi, who lives nearby. Her mother, Hyo-jeong smuggles drugs from a drug trafficking organization and entrusts Tae-shik with the product, without letting him know. The traffickers find out about her smuggling and kidnap both Hyo-jeong and So-mi. The gang promises to release them if Tae-shik makes a delivery for them, however it actually is a larger plot to eliminate a rival drug ring leader. When Hyo-jeon’s disemboweled body is discovered, Tae-shik realizes that So-mi’s life may also be in danger. Tae-shik becomes enraged at the prospect that So-mi may already be dead and prepares for a battle, putting his own life at risk. Jeong-beom Lee's fantastic action thriller had 10 nominations at this year's Korea Film Awards, and although it took 7 awards, most of which in technical categories, "The Man from Nowhere" remains as one of the best Korean films of 2010, along with the fantastically disturbing "I Saw the Devil". "This Man" is not without its flaws, as the first half of the movie suffers from messy story, incoherent pacing and choppy editing, but all these problems are cleared up in its middle part, where "The Man from Nowhere" turns into a thoroughly gripping and highly intense crime thriller, that will leave you gasping for air. Probably the best thing about "This Man" is that there's nothing exaggerated about it, as it delivers a truly believable, yet thrilling story, and sympathetic, credible central characters, beautifully-acted by Bin Won and Sae-Ron Kim. Bin Won is great as the reticent ex-agent, Cha, and although he barely speaks most of the time, he's absolutely captivates the audience with his expressive eyes and enigmatic, yet provocative behavior. The minute you see him, you know he hides something, and you can't help yourself but wanting to uncover the mystery behind him. He's that compelling. However, it's Sae-Ron Kim who truly shines in this film. She acts so naturally and so believably, you'll never guess that this is her first time in front of the camera. Moreover, the relationship between the two protagonists is so sincere, heartfelt and plausible, it makes you forget that you're watching a movie. Besides Cha and Jeong 's enchanting relationship "This Man" has even more to offer. The backstory about Cha not only reveals his intriguing past, but it's also very dramatic, emotional and beautifully-told, and certainly on of the film's highlights. The action sequences are incredibly well-staged, tense and violently brutal, accompanied with impressive visual and sound effects. "This Man"'s overall harshness is compensated with an absolutely touching finale, that is sure to bring tears to your eyes. Despite some editing issues, "This Man" is very slick, technically. The stunningly beautiful bluish cinematography and appropriate low-key lighting are to be admired, as is Jeong-beom Lee's competent direction. This is only his second movie, but it's obvious that he has put a lot of effort and creativity into his work. Disturbing and uncompromisingly violent, yet moving and consistently enthralling, "The Man from Nowhere" ranks as one of the best action thrillers South Korea has ever delivered.

 

14 comments:

Melissa Bradley said...

This sounds like a blend of the Jean Reno film The Professional and Jet Li's Kiss of the Dragon. I loved both films. I just might induced into watching it.

Nebular said...

Yep, something like that :) It also could be described as a better version of "Man on Fire" :) See it, if you have the chance, Melissa. You won't be disappointed. I promise :P

Vapor said...

I'll definitely try to find it.

Nebular said...

Vapor, I cloud help you with a link if you want ;)

Andrew Green said...

Another excellent review from Nebular....
This film looks like it's worth checking out, even if this sort of thing isn't usually my cup of tea.

Nebular said...

Ah, thank you so much, Andrew. I really appreciate it. :)

Not mu cup of tea either, but believe me, this one in particular is worth checking out.

Jaccstev said...

Love this review, good job buddy! Talking about South Korean 2010 blockbusters, have you seen "Secret Reunion" and "71-Into the Fire"? My opinion, those two are worth checking out and reviewing by you.

Nebular said...

Thanks, Jaccsy. Glad you liked it. Your opinion on it is very important since you were the reason I watched this film :)

I've heard about both of these movies, but they somehow didn't catch my attention. Do you suggest I should see them? :)

Chow Yun Fat's "Let the Bullets Fly" also leaked online :) And its premiere was a weak ago. I'm still waiting eng subs for "Don Quixote", "Bedevilled", "The Orphan of Zhao" and "A SImple Noodle Story" to come out.

Jaccstev said...

Especially 71-into the fire, I suggest you to watch it. I love that film.

Nebular said...

I'll definitely check it out then.

Soiled Sinema said...

This one didn't hit too well with me. Having just hopped off No Mercy, The Outlaw, and Secret Reunion, I found this one a tad . . . bland. The pacing was there and there were excellent shots (car crash) but his transition from priest to leather bad boy was almost humorous. The final showdown was bloody and nice but the whole time I felt something large was missing. I never reviewed this because I can't put my finger on what. Maybe it's the villain who seems obviously crafted from The Chaser's geek exterior with a touch of Oldman's musical aficionado in Leon. Hmm. Great review though. You made me wish I liked it more.


-mAQ

Nebular said...

mAQ, thanks for your detailed comment. As much as I respect your opinion, I completely disagree with you. Yes, the first half was a bit messy, unintriguing and poorly-paced, but later on, it transformed itself into an absolutely compelling thriller. I was thoroughly entertained and fascinated by the relationship between Cha and the little girl. Haven't seen Secret Reunion yet. Should I? :)

Soiled Sinema said...

Let me rewind back to this comment in particular. When I had posted that comment, I had assumed this was a Korean film whose title is still something no one can settle on called "Man of Vendetta". Glancing at the cover art, I assumed it was the same exact film. So if you ever get to watching that film make sure to swap my sentiments. TMfN was great, yes.

PS. You torrent fiend!

-mAQ

Nebular said...

So you were talking about "Man of Vendetta"? I know this film, though I still haven't seen it.
Yes, TMFN was great :)