S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(aka 'The Chaser' or 'Chugyeogja')
South Korea 2008
"The Chaser" overturns genre conventions like tables in a saloon brawl — for one, the killer's nabbed in the first half of the film and, unprompted, quickly confesses. Most of the suspense comes from whether or not the astronomically incompetent police force will be able to come up with evidence to actually arrest him — since he was brought in without a warrant, they have to prove he did the things he claims within 12 hours, or he walks. "The Chaser"'s condemnation of the police makes 2005's "Memories of Murder" look marshmallow soft — its cops are lazy, careless, quick-tempered, deaf to what they don't want to hear, more concerned with image than with results and therefore always in search of a way to shift blame. They ignore the killer's inconvenient claim that one of the girls may still be alive, and achieve a sense of urgency only when it becomes clear that they have to close the case in order to take attention off the fact that earlier in the evening they allowed a protester to throw shit at the mayor during a public appearance. Joong-ho, carrying out his own more violent, though only slightly more competent, investigation, has the more compelling motivation of money to be retrieved, though he also prefers to believe that the girls were merely sold until the disturbing evidence otherwise becomes impossible to ignore.
Theatrical Release: February 2008 - Berlin Film Festival
DVD Review: IFC - Region 1, 8 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||IFC - Region 1, 8 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.18 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles||English, English (SDH), Spanish, None|
This excellent and grizzly thriller from South Korea has won many fans on the Festival circuit while collecting seven Film awards at home including Best Picture and Director.
The transfer is dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It has good detail but contrast doesn't export pristine black levels. It gave me a consistent presentation - very clean - with moderate noise. Audio is doesn't stand out much but close, I'll wager, to the way it was produced with some effects have minor notability in the soundstage mix. There are optional subtitles and the DVD is transferred in the NTSC standard, coded for region 1 + 8 (international venues such as aircraft, cruise ships, etc).
No extras save a trailer and some IFC adverts. This is a very solid police drama with political overtones as Korea had some disturbing current events a few years back with a serial killer issue. Yes, it gets harsh and may be too much for some but it stays within the story - not as an exploitive tool. The Chaser is a well made film and one we recommend to those keen on the genre and who not overly sensitive to the brutal violence meted out with a bloody hammer.