A Hard Day

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A Hard Day
A Hard Day 2014.jpg
Theatrical poster
Hangul끝까지 간다
Revised RomanizationKkeutkkaji Ganda
McCune–ReischauerKkŭtkkaji Kanda
Directed byKim Seong-hun
Produced byCha Ji-hyeon
Jang Won-seok
Written byKim Seong-hun
StarringLee Sun-kyun
Cho Jin-woong
Music byMok Young-jin
CinematographyKim Tae-seong
Edited byKim Chang-ju
Dasepo Club
Distributed byShowbox/Mediaplex
Release date
  • May 18, 2014 (2014-05-18) (Cannes)
  • May 29, 2014 (2014-05-29) (South Korea)
Running time
111 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Box officeUS$24.1 million

A Hard Day (Korean끝까지 간다; RRKkeutkkaji Ganda; lit. "Take It to the End") is a 2014 South Korean action thriller film written and directed by Kim Seong-hun, and starring Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Jin-woong.[1][2][3][4][5] It was selected to compete in the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[6][7][8][9]


Ko, a corrupt detective whose mother recently died, drives away in the middle of the funeral, having been informed that his squad is being investigated by internal affairs for bribery. He crashes into a homeless man who wanders onto the road, killing him. Fearing manslaughter charges, as he is intoxicated, Ko declines to call the police, and hides the body from a passing patrol car. With the body in his trunk, he returns to the funeral and manages to seal the body into his mother's coffin while escaping detection. A few days later, Ko purposely gets into another crash, which conceals the earlier damage and gives him a reason to visit the repair shop. To the fortune of Ko and his squad, the aforementioned investigation is cancelled by a lieutenant named Park.

The next assignment of the squad happens to be the capture of a wanted murderer, Lee, revealed to be the homeless man. While searching his hide-out, the squad finds nothing significant, but they meet another police officer who is investigating a hit-and-run incident based on an anonymous tip. As it happens, the hide-out is right next to the site of the collision, and a traffic camera is nearby. The squad examines the low-quality camera footage, noting that the model of the colliding car is the same as Ko's. Moreover, a triangulation of the homeless man's phone, while inexact, points to an area near Ko's mother's grave.

It is revealed that the driver of the patrol car mentioned earlier was Park, who outranks Ko, and that he witnessed Ko's collision, though he doesn't know where the body was taken. Rather than formally report Ko, Park black-mails him and demands possession of the body. Ko excavates the coffin and searches Lee, wishing to understand why Lee's body is so important, and finds Lee's cell phone as well as bullet marks on his body - leading him to believe that Lee was already dead before Ko hit him. The cell phone receives a call from a fellow criminal, whom Ko tracks down and interrogates, and who reveals, finally, that Park stole a large amount of confiscated cocaine. However, after storing his profits in a private vault, Lee stole the key and escaped, and right before the collision, was bleeding from a bullet wound caused by Park. When asked about the key, Ko finds out that anything important was always kept with Lee on his body.

Ko returns to the grave-site and locates the key, but is arrested by his subordinate, who tailed him after discovering, by means of another traffic photograph, that Ko's car was damaged immediately after the time of Lee's death. The subordinate is killed, when Park uses a crane to drop a shipping container onto his car. Ko gets ready to report on Park, and to turn in himself as well, but Park threatens to kill Ko's sister and daughter. In response, Ko steals a time-bomb from the police basement and inserts it into Lee's body's rectum, and hands the body to Park, whose van gets blasted off a bridge into a lake. Against the odds, Park survives and fights Ko in his apartment, but shoots and kills himself while trying to dislodge a revolver from a fallen bookshelf. In the end, senior police officials decide to cover up Park's and Ko's crimes to protect their own reputations. Ko chooses to resign, and, using the metal capsule from earlier, accesses Park's private vault, discovering an enormous reserve of cash, more than he could have imagined.


  • Lee Sun-kyun as Detective Ko Gun-su
  • Cho Jin-woong as Lieutenant Park Chang-min
  • Shin Jung-geun as Chief
  • Jung Man-sik as Detective Choi Sang-ho
  • Shin Dong-mi as Gun-su's younger sister
  • Kim Dong-young as Detective Do Hee-chul
  • Park Bo-gum as Officer Lee Jin-ho
  • Joo Seok-tae as Detective Nam
  • Heo Jung-eun as Mina
  • Lee Jae-won as Jo Neung-hyun
  • Jo Ha-seok as Lee Gwang-min
  • Yoo Soon-woong as Funeral home director
  • Lee Jang-yoo as Coffin rites instructor
  • Jung Woo-hyuk as Funeral home security guard
  • Byun Jung-hye as Funeral home female employee
  • Jang In-sub as Officer Lee Dong-yun
  • Bae Yoo-ram as Officer Shin Hyun-jin
  • Kim Kyung-beom as Senior officer at DUI checkpoint
  • Kim Seung-hoon as Taxi driver
  • Kim Kang-hyun as Young-chul
  • Song Young-gyu as Team leader of internal affairs
  • Lee Ji-hoon as Officer in charge of police armory
  • Nam Kyeong-eup as High ranking police official
  • Kim Hae-gon as Piggybank owner
  • Baek Jong-hwan as Piggybank employee


The film debuted to stellar reviews at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival in the Director's Fortnight sidebar, where it was praised by critics as a well-made thriller with unrelenting suspense and flashes of humor. Upon its release in South Korea on May 29, 2014, at first it didn't attract much attention or hype, with a lackluster 80,000 ticket sales on its opening day.[10] But through strong word of mouth from viewers, A Hard Day began an unexpectedly popular run at the box office, placing second place for four weeks behind Hollywood blockbusters X-Men: Days of Future Past and Edge of Tomorrow. It also outperformed other local noir thrillers with bigger stars, such as Man on High Heels and No Tears for the Dead. A Hard Day quickly reached its break-even point, garnering 1.6 million admissions 11 days after its release, and by its sixth week had drawn 3.08 million admissions.[11][12][13][14][15] At the end of its run, A Hard Day had grossed US$24,171,936 from 3,450,305 tickets sold.[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
23rd Buil Film Awards[17]
Best Actor Lee Sun-kyun Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Cho Jin-woong Nominated
Best New Director Kim Seong-hun Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
34th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
Critics' Top 10 A Hard Day Won
51st Grand Bell Awards[18][19]
Best Film A Hard Day Nominated
Best Director Kim Seong-hun Won
Best Supporting Actor Cho Jin-woong Nominated
Best Screenplay Kim Seong-hun Nominated
Best Cinematography Kim Tae-seong Won
Best Editing Kim Chang-ju Nominated
Best Lighting Kim Gyeong-seok Won
15th Busan Film Critics Awards
Best Screenplay Kim Seong-hun Won
15th Women in Film Korea Awards
Technical Award Oh So-ra
(sound designer)
1st Korean Film Producers Association Awards
Best Film A Hard Day Won
Best Director Kim Seong-hun Won
Best Editing Kim Chang-ju Won
35th Blue Dragon Film Awards[20][21]
Best Film A Hard Day Nominated
Best Director Kim Seong-hun Nominated
Best Actor Lee Sun-kyun Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Cho Jin-woong Won
Best Screenplay Kim Seong-hun Won
Best Cinematography Kim Tae-seong Nominated
Best Editing Kim Chang-ju Won
Best Lighting Kim Gyeong-seok Nominated
6th KOFRA Film Awards[22]
Best Director Kim Seong-hun Won
10th Max Movie Awards
Best Supporting Actor Cho Jin-woong Won
20th Chunsa Film Art Awards[23]
Best Director (Grand Prix) Kim Seong-hun Won
Best Actor Lee Sun-kyun Nominated
Best Screenplay Kim Seong-hun Nominated
Technical Award Nominated
9th Asian Film Awards[24]
Best Supporting Actor Cho Jin-woong Nominated
Best Screenwriter Kim Seong-hun Nominated
Best Editor Kim Chang-ju Nominated
51st Baeksang Arts Awards[25][26]
Best Film A Hard Day Nominated
Best Director Kim Seong-hun Won
Best Actor Lee Sun-kyun Won
Cho Jin-woong Won
Best Screenplay Kim Seong-hun Nominated


  1. ^ "Second Time Lucky for Obscure Korean Film Director". The Chosun Ilbo. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  2. ^ Im, Ju-ri (7 June 2014). "A Hard Day director's last chance for success". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  3. ^ Heskins, Andrew (16 October 2014). "Kim Seong-hun interview: "Maybe we should change it to Hard Days"". Eastern Kicks. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  4. ^ Baldock, Luke Ryan (2 November 2014). "LKFF 2014: THN Interviews Kim Seong Hun Concerning A Hard Day". The Hollywood News. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  5. ^ Kim, Hee-eun (18 April 2014). "Two hot actors to star in new thriller". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
  6. ^ Chang, Justin (22 April 2014). "Cannes: Whiplash, Cold in July Set to Screen at Directors' Fortnight". Variety. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
  7. ^ Cremin, Stephen (22 April 2014). "Directors' Fortnight adds two Asian features". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
  8. ^ Conran, Pierce (23 April 2014). "Director's Fortnight to Have A HARD DAY". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
  9. ^ Tae, Sang-joon (10 June 2014). "A HARD DAY Sells to 30+ Countries". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  10. ^ "Hard Day Steadily Draws Viewers". The Chosun Ilbo. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  11. ^ Ha, Sung-tae (16 June 2014). "Box Office: May 29 - June 11, 2014". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  12. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (22 June 2014). "A Hard Day defies predictions at the box office". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  13. ^ Conran, Pierce (30 June 2014). "Box Office: June 12 – 25, 2014". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  14. ^ "A Hard Day racks up ticket sales, Lee Seon-kyun reflects on its success". Dramabeans. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  15. ^ Frater, Patrick (7 July 2014). "Transformers 4 Holds on to Korean Box Office Lead". Variety. Retrieved 2014-07-07.
  16. ^ "A Hard Day (2014)". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  17. ^ Kim, June (6 October 2014). "SHIM Eun-kyung, SONG Kang-ho, HONG Sangsoo and ROARING CURRENTS Win at 23rd Buil Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-10-09.
  18. ^ Kim, June (12 November 2014). "The 51st Daejong Film Awards Nominations Announced". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-11-12.
  19. ^ Conran, Pierce (24 November 2014). "ROARING CURRENTS Tops 51st Daejong Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-11-25.
  20. ^ Kim, June (18 December 2014). "35th Blue Dragon Awards Names THE ATTORNEY Best Film". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  21. ^ Ma, Kevin (18 December 2014). "Attorney wins four at Blue Dragon Awards". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  22. ^ "Han Gong-ju picked as best film of 2014 by Korean film reporters". The Korea Herald. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  23. ^ Ma, Kevin (9 March 2015). "Hard Day leads Chunsa Film Art nominations". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 2015-03-14. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
  24. ^ Yoon, Ina (4 March 2015). "Korean Films and Artists Nominated for the Asian Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
  25. ^ Lee, Hoo-nam; Kim, Hyung-eun (28 May 2015). "Baeksang honors new, veteran stars". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  26. ^ Conran, Pierce (27 May 2015). "CHOI Min-sik and REVIVRE Triumph at 51st Paeksang Arts Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-05-28.

External links[edit]