by Alexa Dalby
For Police Detective Ko (Korean star Seon-gyun Lee), it’s been one of those days – and nights. Speeding to his mother’s funeral, he runs over a man on a deserted road. Believing himself to be safe from detection, he hides the body in the boot of his car, only to be stopped at a police road block… From then on, his predicament gets even more manic as he ingeniously disposes of the body, only to discover later that it belongs to a wanted man he’s been ordered to arrest urgently in order to impress the new Commissioner. Korean director and screenwriter Seong-hoon Kim’s impressive second feature is a nonstop noir police thriller with a fantastic first twenty minutes, that, though lengthy overall, builds and builds. The more Ko struggles to cover his tracks, the more complicated things become. He starts to receive mysterious anonymous phone calls from someone who knows his every move and is always one step ahead.
It’s a roller coaster of plot twists designed to throw the audience off balance, as Ko battles his nemesis Park (Cho Jin-Woong) – both of them seemingly indestructible. Yet it has flashes of black humour that make the prolonged extreme violence, Ko’s total lack of remorse and the film’s deep cynicism about Korean police corruption seem like a lot of fun.
A Hard Day is showing on Oct 12th & 16th at the 58th BFI London Film Festival