The Chaser (film)

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The Chaser
The Chaser film poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Hangul 추격
Hanja 追擊
Revised Romanization Chugyeokja
McCune–Reischauer Ch‘ugyŏkja
Directed by Na Hong-jin
Produced by Kim Su-jin
Yun In-beom
Written by Na Hong-jin
Shinho Lee
Hong Won-chan
Starring Kim Yoon-seok
Ha Jung-woo
Seo Young-hee
Music by Kim Jun-seok
Choi Yong-rak
Cinematography Lee Sung-jae
Edited by Kim Sun-min
Distributed by Showbox
Release date
  • 14 February 2008 (2008-02-14)
Running time
123 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office US$35.8 million[1]

The Chaser (Hangul추격자; RRChugyeokja) is a 2008 South Korean action thriller film[2][3] starring Kim Yoon-seok and Ha Jung-woo. It was directed by Na Hong-jin in his directorial debut.[4] Inspired by real-life Korean serial killer Yoo Young-chul, the film was shot on location around Mangwon-dong in the Mapo District, Seoul.

Plot[edit]

Eom Joong-ho is a dishonest ex-detective turned pimp who is in financial trouble because two of his girls have gone missing. One night he sends Mi-jin, one of his few remaining girls, to a customer. He then realizes that this is the same person who was the last to see his missing girls. Believing that this man is reselling his women, he goes to look for Mi-jin, contacting his old police task force for help. But they cannot assist because the mayor of Seoul, whom they are guarding, has just been attacked with feces. The police are now preoccupied with a media storm because they have suffered humiliation for failing to protect the mayor.

Mi-jin awakes tied up in a bathroom. Her "customer", Je Yeong-min, calmly informs her that a previous victim had her tongue cut out for screaming too much. He tries to kill her, but she resists and Je Yeong-min hurts his hand. Moments later, callers from the local church arrive, inquiring about its owner, Mr. Park. Yeong-min has no time to finish off Mi-jin so he invites the elderly couple in and butchers them.

While trying to ditch the couple's car, he collides with Joong-ho's vehicle. Joong-ho senses that the man is hiding something, and calls the customer's cellphone, establishing that this is the man he is looking for. Yeong-min tries to run away but is caught and badly beaten by Joong-ho. Both men are arrested by a suspicious local cop. At the station, Yeong-min casually admits that he has killed up to nine people. A fracas starts when competing divisions all want to investigate the high-profile unsolved murders in the area.

Despite his confession, the police have no physical evidence, so they cannot detain Yeong-min for long. To get evidence, Joong-ho goes to Mi-jin's apartment to collect DNA samples. In the apartment, he discovers Eun-ji, Mi-jin's daughter, home alone. Reluctantly he takes her with him while he follows up a lead in Yeong-min's home town. There, he learns the suspect had been sent to prison for three years for lobotomizing his own nephew. Joong-ho finds a shabby room where Yeong-min had once lived. On the walls are a host of religious drawings. Eun-ji wanders off, following a woman who looks like her mother. Off camera, she is apparently knocked down in a hit and run. After a frantic search, Joong-ho finds her and takes her to a hospital. He signs the forms as her father.

Time has run out for the police. The prosecutor's office orders that Yeong-min be released because the police have no evidence. The prosecutor tells the chief that the arrest, the suspect's injuries and rapid confession will be portrayed as the police's attempt to save face. To avoid political fallout, Yeong-min is released without charge. At the same time, the chief orders the arrest of Joong-ho as a scapegoat because he attacked the suspect. The former cop escapes from the police to continue looking for Mi-jin.

Meanwhile, Mi-jin has freed herself and escaped from the house and the garden full of human remains. Badly injured, she finds help at a nearby corner shop. Yeong-min stops at the same shop to buy cigarettes. The shopkeeper innocently tells him what has happened to Mi-jin and that there is a "maniac" loose. He kills the shopowner before killing and decapitating Mi-jin. Arriving shortly thereafter, Joong-ho finds the street cordoned off by the police and the store a bloodbath.

The police, now realizing that they have again been humiliated, throw everything into the search for Yeong-min. Joong-ho, distraught at what has happened, visits the local church, a link between the house callers and the car that Yeong-min had been driving. Joong-ho notices that the statue of the crucified Jesus matches the drawings he had seen in the room. Inquiries with the deacon lead him to the sculpture "assistant" who was staying at Mr Park's house.

On arrival, Joong-ho discovers a now smartly-dressed Yeong-min, carrying his bag of tools, just about to depart. A massive fight ensues in which a fish tank containing Mi-jin's head and body parts is smashed. Eventually Joong-ho prevails but just as he is about to bring a hammer down on Yeong-min's skull the police burst in and restrain the former policeman. As Joong-ho is pushed face down to the ground, he looks into the dead eyes of Mi-jin. The police digs up Yeong-min's many buried victims.

The film ends with Joong-ho sitting silently in the hospital room alongside Eun-ji's bed. He takes her hand in his own.

Cast[edit]

Box office[edit]

The Chaser was released in South Korea on February 14, 2008.[5] On its opening weekend it grossed US$3,914,847 and was ranked second at the box office, behind American film Jumper.[6] It then topped the box office for three consecutive weekends,[7][8][9] and as of June 1, 2008, had grossed a total of US$35,760,133.[1] The Chaser received a total of 5,120,630 admissions nationwide, which made it the third most popular film in South Korea in 2008, after The Good, the Bad, the Weird and Scandal Makers.[5]

Remakes and similar productions[edit]

In March 2008, the remake rights to The Chaser were bought by Warner Bros. for US$1 million. William Monahan was in early discussions to write the script, with Leonardo DiCaprio named as a potential star; no deals have been set. Monahan and DiCaprio were both involved in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, a successful remake of the classic Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs .[10]

Murder 2, an Indian film with a similar plot, was released in 2011.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2008
61st Cannes Film Festival Caméra d'Or Na Hong-jin Nominated
44th Baeksang Arts Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) for Film The Chaser Won
Best Film Nominated
Best Director Na Hong-jin Nominated
Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Nominated
Ha Jung-woo Nominated
Best New Director Na Hong-jin Won
Best Screenplay Na Hong-jin and Shinho Lee Nominated
16th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Won
Ha Jung-woo Won
Best New Director Na Hong-jin Won
Best Screenplay Na Hong-jin and Shinho Lee Won
Technical Award Choi Tae-young Won
9th Busan Film Critics Awards Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Won
Best Screenplay Na Hong-jin and Shinho Lee Won
17th Buil Film Awards Best Film The Chaser Nominated [11]
Best Director Na Hong-jin Won
Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Won
Ha Jung-woo Nominated
Best New Director Na Hong-jin Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Buil Readers' Jury Award The Chaser Won
Best Editing Kim Sun-min Won
Best Cinematography Lee Sung-jae Nominated
Best Lighting Lee Cheol-oh Nominated
45th Grand Bell Awards Best Film The Chaser Won [12]
Best Director Na Hong-jin Won
Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Won
Ha Jung-woo Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Seo Young-hee Nominated
Best New Director Na Hong-jin Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Editing Kim Sun-min Nominated
Best Cinematography Lee Sung-jae Won
Best Planning Kim Su-jin, Yun In-beom Won
Best Sound Kim Sin-yong Nominated
29th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Film The Chaser Nominated
Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Won
Ha Jung-woo Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Seo Young-hee Nominated
Best New Director Na Hong-jin Nominated
Best Screenplay Na Hong-jin and Shinho Lee Nominated
Best Cinematography Lee Sung-jae Nominated
Best Music Kim Jun-seok, Choi Yong-rak Nominated
Technical Award Kim Sun-min (Editing) Nominated
7th Korean Film Awards Best Film The Chaser Won
Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Won
Best Supporting Actress Seo Young-hee Nominated
Best Director Na Hong-jin Won
Best New Director Won
Best Screenplay Na Hong-jin and Shinho Lee Won
Best Editing Kim Sun-min Won
Best Cinematography Lee Sung-jae Nominated
Best Music Kim Jun-seok, Choi Yong-rak Nominated
University Film Festival of Korea Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Won
11th Director's Cut Awards Ha Jung-woo Won
Best New Director Na Hong-jin Won
2nd Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Nominated
12th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival Best of Puchon The Chaser Won
Best Actress Seo Young-hee Won
EFFFF Asian Award The Chaser Won
2009
3rd Asian Film Awards Best Actor Ha Jung-woo Nominated
Best Screenplay Na Hong-jin and Shinho Lee Nominated
Best Editing Kim Sun-min Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "South Korea Box: Office May 30 – June 1, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  2. ^ "Realism And The Art Of Violence In The Chaser (2008) | Genre: Action, Thriller". That Moment In. 2008. 
  3. ^ The Chaser (2008) | Amazon.com | Genre: Foreign Films, Mystery and Thrillers, Action & Adventure
  4. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (31 January 2008). "Chaser Offers Heart-Thumping Thrills". The Korea Times. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "The Best Selling Films of 2008". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  6. ^ "South Korea Box Office: February 15–17, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  7. ^ "South Korea Box Office: February 22–24, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  8. ^ "South Korea Box Office: February 29 – March 2, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  9. ^ "South Korea Box Office: March 7–9, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  10. ^ Paquet, Darcy; Fleming, Michael (7 March 2008). "Chaser caught by Warner for remake" Archived 2008-05-08 at the Wayback Machine.. Variety. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  11. ^ Yi, Chang-ho (24 October 2008). "The Chaser extends awards lead". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "The Chaser - Awards". Cinemasie. Retrieved 25 September 2008.

External links[edit]