Saturday, April 9, 2011
TrustMovies pub-lished yesterday. The IMDB, is indeed correct: THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, that knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark crime-and-chase thriller, did have some U.S. theatrical play in the fall of 2010, despite my conclusion that this never hap-pened. Thanks to "John" (see com-ments below) and a helpful email I received from Rita Tse, I stand corrected. So thank you, both. Which means that I certainly should have heard of this movie that was so unknown to me. Its viewer rating from the IMDB (now approaching 3,000 votes) is nearly eight stars out of ten --very good for this site--while its Netflix rating (from nearly 1,000 viewers) is even better: 4.3 stars out of a possible five.
Lee Jeong-beom has made only one other movie, Cruel Winter Blues (2006), which played some festivals but has never been given an American release (of this statement I am much more certain). Now, with his second feature, this relatively young director (born in 1971 and shown at left) has given us a movie involving crime, murder, kidnapping and betrayal that outdoes much else (even via Korea) in the thriller genre, and at almost every level. Taking a packet of utterly conventional elements, Mr. Lee whips them together in ways that initially seem conventional, but are so speedily paced and handily executed that we follow along most happily. But then, as the plot progresses and events build and grow darker, the conventional turns in on itself and suddenly blooms into something more serious and mysterious. The humanity on display heightens, even as the deeds of the evil-doers turn increasingly nasty.
Won Bin, who was equally remarkable in last year's Mother.) When both mom and daughter (below) are sudden-ly kidnapped, the result of a thieves-rob-thieves heist we see at the film's beginning, this strange young man must go into action.
Kim Sea-Ron fills her special role with such a memorable presence that she will capture you as surely as she does our Pawnshop.
Greencine both have very long wait times for The Man From Nowhere, and Blockbuster, though it advertises the movie, also says that it is unavailable -- in NYC, at least, which, in addition to the Los Angeles area, is probably the prime rental spot (outside Korea itself) for this film. I was lucky enough to find the title at my local Jackson Heights video store, the only one left of the half dozen that were in operation when we moved here. It is also for rent, and available now, via Amazon. (I would recommend renting the High Def version for $3.99 from Amazon Instant Video.) You can always purchase the film, of course, then share it with all your friends until you feel you've gotten your money's worth. Either way, The Man From Nowhere is worth the wait -- no matter how long.