South Korean Cinema
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Directed by Lee Jeong-Beom
Released 4th August 2010
Won Bin as Cha Tae-sik, a quiet pawn broker with a mysterious past
Kim Sae-ron as So-mi, the young neighbour of Cha Tae-sik
Kim Hyo-seo as Hyo-jeong, So-mi’s junkie mother
Kim Hee-won as Man-seok, a ruthless drug smuggler
Kim Sung-oh as Jong-seok, Man-seok’s brother and partner
The Man from Nowhere is the violent and bloody tale about Cha Tae-Sik (Won Bin), who is more commonly referred to as just ‘mister’, as he exacts revenge upon a group of drug smugglers who have kidnapped his neighbour So-mi (Kim Sae-ron)nd her mother (Hyo-jeong). In this Korean John Wick, Park Jung-ryul choreographs beautifully brutal fight scenes that director Lee Jeong-Beom captures wonderfully in this moving story. Though the story may be lacking originality, the wonderfully moving performances from Won Bin, Kim Sae-ron and the rest of the cast, coupled with exceptional directing makes this a movie not to miss out on.
Cha Tae-sik works alone as a pawn broker in a rundown pawn shop in Seoul. He lives a solitary life with little to none human interaction albeit for his young neighbour So-mi, who comes round to eat his food and bother him most days. So-mi’s mother is an exotic dancer junkie, who after conspiring with one of her assumed many gentlemen callers, hijacks a large quantity of heroin from a dealer.
In comes the drug smugglers/dealers who take no time at all to discover that So-mi’s mother took the drugs. After threatening her to give back the drugs in a specified amount of days, once she doesn’t, they come back to beat her and trash the house as So-mi comes home. Restraining them both, they find out the drugs were sold in a pack to the pawn shop. Causing the dealers to trash the pawn shop.
Once Cha Tae-sik returns home to find 3 strange men in his shop, making a mess and brandishing a knife in his face, he quickly shows us that he isn’t a man to mess with. But with So-mi, whom he cares for, being in the dealer’s hands, he must show restraint and do as they say before heading down the bloody road of vengeance.
Won Bin, who sadly put his acting career on hold, after appearing in the amazing war movie Taegukgi in 2004. Before appearing in Mother and then Man from Nowhere. Has propelled himself and shown that he is able to play a great action character who is tough but sympathetic.
The directing and cinematography stands out as it creates a dark and gripping tone, that cascades us through the gripping tale of revenge. As our eyes are glued to the screen because to look away would pull one out of the darkly shot scenes and gory action (which there is a lot of so prepare for blood).
The Man from Nowhere is a must see action thriller, that plays on a dark background full of gloriously brutal action. Which as I said earlier, will remind you of John Wick (though this came out first). A film which any fans of well-directed action and performances will definitely enjoy.
Check out our Train to Busan review too!