Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: The Man From Nowhere (2010)

The Man From Nowhere (Review)
Lee Jeong-beom/Won Bin/2010
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"The Man From Nowhere takes this tired genre somewhere -- and it's somewhere like paradise."

When the only person he cares for is kidnapped, quiet and recluse Cha Tae-sik (Won Bin) seeks vengeance the only way he knows how...

The Man From Nowhere follows Tae-sik, a very quiet, recluse, and mysterious young man. In fact, Tae-sik only speaks to a the young girl next door, So-mi (Kim Sae-ron), and he still attempts to keep his distance from her. When So-mi's mother steals drugs from a powerful criminal organization, So-mi and her mother are kidnapped. Tae-sik realizes he must save the only person that understands him, and he spirals into the criminal underworld. The story continues as one would expect, but it also develops some great character, which makes it more distinct and effective. The climax is action-packed, featuring an unforgettable fight sequence, and the ending is powerful.

The Man From Nowhere is a superb action-thriller. It works on a much deeper level than your typical kidnap film, and it also manages to topple those very same films in the action and thrill departments. I think the film works so well on each level because of the meticulously-crafted relationship between Tae-sik and So-mi; you can't help but relate to these characters and their struggles, and even if you can't, their characters seem so real, you can't really help yourself from getting emotional. It really amplifies the action -- it feels like there are actually stakes, there something that you might actually lose. The tense shootings, the superb close-quarter-combat, and the exhilarating chases are also well balanced, spread evenly throughout the film to create a consistent, well-paced experience.

Won Bin begins his performance with a bit of a trope character -- the cool, mysterious character with the long, slick hair -- and he plays it well. Won Bin's performance only gets better as the different complexions of his character take center stage. This performance really makes me wish Won Bin would star in more films. Kim Sae-ron was also impressive; her performance was genuine enough to actually make me care for her character. The cinematography is great, but I think the camerawork is even better; some scenes had me in awe thanks to the shooting style. The music also helps significantly in building up the emotion and tension. Lee Jeong-beom directs a superb action-thriller with unexpectedly deep and relatable characters; his direction and writing manages to elevate the kidnapping genre.

Overall, The Man From Nowhere is a masterpiece. I've seen it many times since my first viewing a few years ago, and I'm still impressed. From the excellent performance to the superb action, The Man From Nowhere takes this tired genre somewhere -- and it's somewhere like paradise.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, nudity and drug use.

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