One of the most enjoyable times I spent in the cinema last year was watching the big-budget, star-studded, South Korean caper flick, The Thieves — where the energy, humour and all-round film-making smarts were a joy to experience.
Sold nearly everywhere as an Asian version of Hollywood’s Oceans franchise – well, that’s called marketing. As I saw it, The Thieves was a surprisingly effective counterpoint to the lethargic, middle-aged preening of director Soderbergh and his precious stars.
Na Hong-jin’s second film confirms that he is the number one crime-action auteur to emerge from Asia in recent memory. I like his films more than Park Chan-wook’s head-scratchingly abstract work since Oldboy and also Kim Ji-woon’s fun but sadly empty and pointless excursions post-A Tale of Two Sisters. Na’s first film, The Chaser, is a taut, horrific thriller with great momentum and some shocking surprises. It starred two very good but nonprominent Korean actors, Kim and … (read more)