Hong-jin Na

Hong-jin Na – Chugyeokja AKA The Chaser (2008)

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Possessed of the same bloody fatalism that pulses through many a Korean crimer, and topped by Kim Yoon-suk’s star-making performance as a lowlife racing to save a woman’s life, “The Chaser” is a grisly serial-killer thriller that develops into a howl of outrage at the ineptitude of the system. Drawing both white-knuckle tension and moral anguish from a maddening succession of red herrings and wrong turns, Na Hong-jin’s The Chaser (Chugyeogja) “tells the story of a detective turned pimp who finds himself in trouble when several of his girls disappear without paying him.” The film was released in its native South Korea in February and was a good-sized hit. Read More »

Hong-jin Na – Goksung AKA The Wailing (2016)

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Quote:
Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing is a work of thriller maximal-ism, a rare case of more actually being more rather than less. In the spirit of other South Korean films like Memories of Murder, The Host, I Saw the Devil, and Park Chan-wook’s early work, among others, The Wailing thrives on genre crosspollination and tonal hyperbole, particularly a destabilizing contrast of broad comedy with ultraviolent portentousness. In American cinema, such a mix often results in a single tone dominating the enterprise, telegraphing to the audience how to feel. By contrast, prominent South Korean thrillers abound in ambiguous tones in which the comedy and the violence are accorded equal prominence, yielding an exhilarating sense of possibility and chaos. Read More »