Movie review of “A Hard Day”: This Korean-language thriller follows a big-city homicide detective with a very guilty conscience. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
An inconvenient corpse.
A rising sense of panic.
An ocean of flop sweat.
Movie Review ★★
‘A Hard Day,’ with Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Jin-woong. Written and directed by Kim Seong-hun. 111 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains violence, language). In Korean, with English subtitles. Grand Illusion, through Thursday.
Add in incriminating phone calls from beyond the grave, and you’ve got a recipe for an overheated thriller.
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The Korean-made “A Hard Day” could more accurately have been titled, “The World’s Guiltiest Conscience” because that’s what its protagonist, a big-city homicide detective named Gun-soo (Lee Sun-kyun), brings to the party. It’s there, on his face, shining forth, obvious as daylight. In his fearful eyes. In the desperation pouring forth from his every pore.
No hero he.
No heroes at all in this picture. Most of the characters are, like Gun-soo, cops. And all of them are dirty. Corrupt. Crooked, crooked, crooked.
They’re bribe-takers. And that’s the least of it. Drug dealing is in the mix of their misdeeds. And murder.
Gun-soo’s midnight automotive encounter with a dead body on a deserted road — it sure looks like he ran a guy down — sets writer-director Kim Seong-hun’s picture in motion. Desperate to conceal the deed, the cop feverishly tries to hide the body. But there is, of course, a glitch. The deed has been seen. Blackmail ensues. And this guilty party tries with ever greater levels of franticness to wriggle out of his predicament, making ever so many missteps along the way.
It’s hard to feel sympathy for such a miserable miscreant. Impossible, in fact. So all the audience can do is watch him flop and squirm and wonder why everyone around him fails to detect the detective’s plain-as-day desperation and bring the poor devil to justice.