Friday, November 27, 2015

Film Review: A Hard Day (2014)

A Hard Day (Review)
Kim Seong-hun/Lee Sun-kyun/2014
Where To Watch:
Netflix Instant
Amazon Prime 

"...one of the best thrillers of 2014..."

While rushing to his mother's funeral, corrupt homicide detective Ko Gun-su (Lee Sun-kyun) recklessly commits a fatal hit-and-run. After hiding the body, he's blackmailed by a ruthless witness...

A Hard Day is a twisted and engaging thriller. The plot may seem simple on the surface, but it offers plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes. The film follows Ko Gun-su, who is generally having a very hard day. His mother has passed away, he's being investigated by internal affairs, he killed someone, and now he's being blackmailed by a persistent and brutal man. I won't spoil the film's bigger twists — it's a case of “the less you know, the better.” However, I felt a plot point towards the end was a little too far-fetched — it was one of those “yeah, right,” moments. The ending wasn't bad per se, but it is a little sullied by that moment.

A Hard Day is a great thriller. This is a thriller in every sense of the word. The film starts off on its feet, running at a breakneck speed — the pacing is relentless. There's hardly any time to breathe as the film vaults from one tense situation to another. The suspense is unnerving, really drilling into you with each scene. When it's not an edge-of-your-seat thriller, the film is entertaining through some very black humor. This is one of the best thrillers of 2014 — easily. It does have a few issues with its finale and some blatantly contrived moments, though. It doesn't really affect the excitement or the countless thrills, but these issues standout when you reflect on the actual plot afterward.

The acting was good. Lee Sun-kyun is a little overdone at times, but he's generally more than serviceable. Cho Jin-woong is also great, outshining the lead with his sly performance. The film is shot very well. The music also matched the film's mood. It's not a technical achievement, but it is far from bad. Writer and director Kim Seong-hun takes a simple premise and creates a heart-pounding thriller. Although there are a few flaws in his writing, his direction is meticulous and effective. He seamlessly leaps from scene-to-scene, creating a very smooth yet tense ride. The balance is also splendid – more thriller, less filler.

Overall, A Hard Day is a great thriller. It's one of the best thrillers of 2014 and even one of the best of 2015. (I haven't seen many of the latter, but this film tops most.) If you're looking for something brimming with suspense and sprinkled with black humor, this is for you. Don't miss out on this very hard day.
 
Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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