The Man from Nowhere DVD Review
Written and Directed by Lee Jeong-beom
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 119 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 11th April 2011
Won Bin as Cha Tae-Sik
Sae-ron Kim as So-Mi Jeong
Hyo-seo Kim as Hyo Jeong
The Man from Nowhere is a South Korean film by Lee Jeong-beom that at first glance could be any generic crime based thriller, but this film is a surprising delight that delivers a whole lot more.
The story centres on a young, quiet man Cha Tae-Sik (Won Bin) who owns a pawnshop. He keeps himself to himself until a lonely young girl, So-Mi (Sae-Ron Kim), tries to befriend him, as her mother is caught up in drugs and she is teased by everyone else in her life. When So-Mi’s mother steals merchandise from a drug trafficking ring, she and her daughter are kidnapped by the dealers she owes money to. Cha Tae-Sik witnesses their kidnapping and does everything he can to save the only person he connects with anymore.
Though this film may not have the most original plot, (many people will see connections to Leon, Taken etc) it is all the other elements that make it stand out among films of the same ilk. The main appeal is the relationship between the two central characters. The small girl, So-Mi, adds the emotional, human elements to this film and the relationship between her and Cha is something an audience can connect to, which makes the film compelling until the very last scene. As a child actress, Sae-ron, is exceptional and together with Won Bin it is an enthralling combination.
This may not be a horror film, but it’s an action packed thriller with scenes so brutally violent it has elements of any shocking horror out there. There are plenty of scenes where I felt I had to look away because of the graphic nature, some scenes cut away and leave it to the imagination à la Reservoir Dogs, which can make it much worse.
The martial arts elements to this film are superb. Won Bin’s character is a mysterious man, like a shadow; he hides his face behind his hair, he barely speaks and can move so quickly you can’t see how he makes his moves. His capabilities to outwit the police and the most dangerous drug lords is exciting and mesmerising at the same time. It’s also good to note that he is incredibly attractive. If that’s the kind of thing you need to get you through a film, then do not worry on that front.
Korean films are proving time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with and The Man From Nowhere is a great example of how action films should be made, it flows well and has a gripping back story that is believable. I found this film hugely enjoyable because of its variety and warmth; a brutally violent film that has many flashes of humour, heart and depth. Something many generic Hollywood action films could take note from.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Not graded as this was a screener.