Friday, August 24, 2012

Jay's Movie of the Week #34: Hindsight (2011)

HindsightThis week I take a look at a well-done, quite glossy action flick from Korea. I wonder if my affection for this film might not flag, but for now I'm a big fan. Originally reviewed for

Our Take: 

When a movie opens with a girl, a boy, and a gun, you know it'll be a sweet, swooning musical romance... or not. Hindsight is a visually tasty Korean crime thriller plotted with some action film clichés, but built around a central relationship that's well-developed enough to feel authentic.

Midlife career change is never easy, though going from mob enforcer to culinary student seems a greater leap than those some people make (especially as the reverse seems more likely in today's economy). Aspiring chef Doo-heon is slowly romancing his cooking class partner Se-bin by day, not knowing she secretly keeps tabs on him for a crime cartel that wants him back. Se-bin has big debts, big scars, and excellent aim with a rifle. When the old boss dies and Doo-heon is dragged back in to sit on the throne, he instead sparks a gang war. Guess who gets hired to knock him off?

While many Hollywood crime thrillers shoehorn in a romance, here we get two central characters developing a genuine affinity for one another while avoiding assassins around every corner. The leads deliver at making character motivations clear with a chemistry never feels forced. In fact, there's not a bad performance in the whole film, even when some characters could be pulp novel or comic book bad guys.

Visually, Hindsight is extremely handsome, filling the frame with beautiful accent colors and sometimes unpredictable angles. The action is dynamic and coherent. While the picture's sold on it, at two hours, you'll find more quiet scenes than throw-downs. Also, at the start it can be difficult to work out who's who and where allegiances lie, but the dynamics become clear soon enough. The film takes the time to develop characters, plot, and motivations. The overall result is well worth indulging the time it takes.

Official Synopsis:

Once a legendary and brutal figure in organized crime, Doo-heon just wants a chance to lead a normal life and dreams of becoming a chef with his own restaurant. When a young woman, Se-bin, comes into his life, a shared passion for cooking soon becomes a romantic attraction, taking them both by surprise.

But when deadly cartel politics erupt – drawing a reluctant Doo-heon back into the violent shadows of the underworld as heir apparent – he becomes the assassination target of former colleagues and discovers the lovely Se-bin isn't who she appears … harboring dark and treacherous secrets of her own. Can they trust one another? Will his love overcome her betrayal?

A heart-pounding, action-packed film, featuring original music by 3rd Coast.

Special Features:
  • Behind the Scenes of Hindsight - a 21 minute featurette
  • Song Kang-Ho's 4 Action Scenes” - a short featurette on the actor's action scenes
  • Shin Se-Kyung's Acting Style Makeover” - a short featurette about the actress
  • Making of Hindsight– a 7 minute promo about the production.
  • MNet Trailer - promo for a cable channel
  • English Subtitles
  • Korean 5.1 Dolby Digital audio
  • 16x9 Widescreen Presentation

Hindsight is a surprising, satisfying crime thriller with a strong relationship story at the center. It's good looking and mostly avoids cliché, anchored by excellent leads and beautiful visuals.

Overall Picture:
Movie: A-
Extras: B+

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