The Chaser (film)

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The Chaser
The Chaser film poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Hangul
Hanja
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 dates
  • 14 February 2008 (2008-02-14)
Running time
123 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office US$35,760,133[1]

The Chaser (Hangul추격자; RRChugyeokja) is a 2008 South Korean film starring Kim Yoon-seok and Ha Jung-woo. It was directed by Na Hong-jin in his directorial debut.[2] 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. 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 torture 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. 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 doing a lobotomy on 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 order 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 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.[3] On its opening weekend it grossed US$3,914,847 and was ranked second at the box office, behind American film Jumper.[4] It then topped the box office for three consecutive weekends,[5][6][7] 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.[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

2008 Baeksang Arts Awards
2008 Chunsa Film Art Awards
2008 Busan Film Critics Awards
2008 Buil Film Awards[8]
  • Best Director – Na Hong-jin
  • Best Actor – Kim Yoon-seok
  • Best Editing – Kim Sun-min
  • Buil Readers' Jury Award
  • Nomination – Best Film
  • Nomination – Best Actor – Ha Jung-woo
  • Nomination – Best New Director – Na Hong-jin
  • Nomination – Best Screenplay – Na Hong-jin
  • Nomination – Best Cinematography – Lee Sung-jae
  • Nomination – Best Lighting – Lee Cheol-oh
2008 Grand Bell Awards[9]
  • Best Film
  • Best Director – Na Hong-jin
  • Best Actor – Kim Yoon-seok
  • Best Cinematography – Lee Sung-jae
  • Best Planning – Kim Su-jin, Yun In-beom
  • Nomination – Best Actor – Ha Jung-woo
  • Nomination – Best Supporting Actress – Seo Young-hee
  • Nomination – Best New Director – Na Hong-jin
  • Nomination – Best Screenplay – Na Hong-jin
  • Nomination – Best Editing – Kim Sun-min
  • Nomination – Best Sound – Kim Sin-yong
2008 Blue Dragon Film Awards
  • Best Actor – Kim Yoon-seok
  • Nomination – Best Film
  • Nomination – Best Actor – Ha Jung-woo
  • Nomination – Best Supporting Actress – Seo Young-hee
  • Nomination – Best New Director – Na Hong-jin
  • Nomination – Best Screenplay – Na Hong-jin and Shinho Lee
  • Nomination – Best Cinematography – Lee Sung-jae
  • Nomination – Best Music – Kim Jun-seok, Choi Yong-rak
  • Nomination – Technical Award – Kim Sun-min (Editing)
2008 Korean Film Awards
  • Best Film
  • Best Actor – Kim Yoon-seok
  • Best Director – Na Hong-jin
  • Best New Director – Na Hong-jin
  • Best Screenplay – Na Hong-jin and Shinho Lee
  • Best Editing – Kim Sun-min
  • Nomination – Best Supporting Actress – Seo Young-hee
  • Nomination – Best Cinematography – Lee Sung-jae
  • Nomination – Best Music – Kim Jun-seok
2008 University Film Festival of Korea
2008 Director's Cut Awards
2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards
2009 Asian Film Awards

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. In Murder 2, unlike The Chaser, the killer was a cross dresser.[11][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "South Korea Box: Office May 30 – June 1, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  2. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (31 January 2008). "Chaser Offers Heart-Thumping Thrills". The Korea Times. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "The Best Selling Films of 2008". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  4. ^ "South Korea Box Office: February 15–17, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  5. ^ "South Korea Box Office: February 22–24, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  6. ^ "South Korea Box Office: February 29 – March 2, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  7. ^ "South Korea Box Office: March 7–9, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  8. ^ Yi, Chang-ho (24 October 2008). "The Chaser extends awards lead". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "The Chaser - Awards". Cinemasie. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
  10. ^ Paquet, Darcy; Fleming, Michael (7 March 2008). "Chaser caught by Warner for remake". Variety. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  11. ^ "Murder 2 plot lifted from Korean flick". NDTV. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "Emraan - "Murder 2 is not just about erotica"". Asianet India. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Family Ties
Grand Bell Awards for Best Film
2008
Succeeded by
The Divine Weapon