A Hard Day
City to City
When you first meet Detective Ko Gun-soo (Lee Sun-kyun), it’s clear that he’s at the dawn of a real, real bad day. Driving to his mother’s funeral procession while on the phone with his snack-hungry daughter, a stray dog appears on the road causing him to swerve head on into a highway vagrant. From here, and quickly, it’s established maybe Ko has had some of this coming, karma wise. Instead of reporting the accident, Ko decides to dispose of the body in his mother’s casket, in the process revealing a personal list of considerable corruptions. While wrought and wrapped up with the dilemma, Ko is oblivious to a larger conspiracy he’s crashed into.
Ko may have learned his problem solving skills from the halls of Home Alone. A panicked sort of crafty, he’s forced to navigate an intense labyrinth in often goofy ways, rigging available items into handy, comically backfiring, tools. A Hard Day treats itself as a gritty police drama, but it doesn’t pretend it isn’t also a dark comedy. Knowing its own tone, the film is willing to play everything up, the fights going harder, the unfortunate coincidences weirder, and the scale getting grander and grander. It also gives considerable leg room for Cho Jin-woong, the film’s lit up antagonist, to chew scenery like the Joker.
A Hard Day is a likely candidate for midnight movie circuit stardom. A solid production with a dark lighthearted spirit, one part The Departed and two parts The Three Stooges. (Zack Kotzer)
Wednesday, September 10th, 9:00pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
Thursday, September 11th, 9:45pm, Isabel Bader Theatre
Sunday, September 14th, 9:45pm, Scotiabank 3