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Nowhere to Hide

Injong Sajong Polkot Opta

Standing head and shoulders above most recent Korean films, Nowhere to Hide is an exciting police thriller with a dazzling visual style. It works on a number of different levels. First, as a noir-ish manhunt story, with drug magnate Chang on the run from a team of overworked cops led by Detective Woo. Secondly, as a vehicle for director Lee Mung-se’s eye-popping experiments with colour, rhythm and motion. In what must be one of the most kinetically charged films ever, Lee employs several types of movement to propel his action-packed story. There’s the extraordinary movement of the central protagonists (based on studies of body movements in dancers and athletes), visual movement created by the camera and lighting, movement through time (an on-screen countdown to the capture of the villain), and the movement inherent in Lee’s editing, which creates a staccato-like propulsion. Lee says that he was influenced by classic painting and Hitchcock’s experiments with film form. If such a thing as Hitch’s notion of ‘pure film’ exists, then it can be found on auspicious display in Nowhere to Hide.
1999. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 110 min.

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