Nothing To Lose, Nothing To Compromise

Nothing To Lose, Nothing To Compromise

Static Mass Rating: 5/5

Release date: April 11th 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 116 minutes
Original language: Korean with English subtitles

Director: Jeong-beom Lee

Cast: Won Bin, Kim Sae-ron, Kim Hyo-seo

The Man From Nowhere is Jeong-beom Lee’s second feature after Cruel Winter Blues (2006), and has already helped establish him as one of Korea’s most promising action directors, comparable to Japan’s Takeshi Kitano and China’s John Woo.

The story centres on reclusive pawn shop owner Cha Tae-sik (Won Bin) and his friendship with a little girl, So-mee (Kim Sae-ron) who lives nearby.

The Man From Nowhere

Neither of them know that her mother, Hyo-jeong (Kim Hyo-seo), is being used as a drug smuggler and she entrusts Tae-sik with a case without him knowing what’s really inside.

This eventually brings trouble his way. Hyo-jeong and So-mi are kidnapped and thugs are sent to retrieve the case at Tae-sik’s shop. When he disposes of them easily, the drug lords realise he would be a better of better service to them alive than dead and use Hyo-jeong and So-mi as leverage to get him to make a delivery.

Despite his best efforts to stay hidden, Tae-sik is drawn out into the open. His friendship with So-mee has managed to melt his heart, and realising that he is all she has left in the world, he fights to save her.

The Man From Nowhere

Along the way, his true identity is revealed together with a much larger plot involving organ harvesting. It culminates in a blood soaked and gut wrenching climax that makes The Man From Nowhere exhilarating from start to finish.

Won Bin, a former model and television actor now making a name for himself in feature films, is impressive as the seldom speaking man of action Tae-sik while Kim Sae-ron gives a breathtaking performance as So-mee. Her scene where she asks Tae-sik if he is embarrassed by her is heartbreaking, more so when she touches her chest with her hand and tells him it hurts her in there, before turning to walk away.

The Man From Nowhere

It’s easy to see why The Man From Nowhere was Korea’s top grossing film of 2010, going on to pick up endless awards and playing at festivals all around the world. It’s a fast-paced action thriller with a lot of fight scenes but at the heart of it is the idea that hiding from the world can sometimes bring you more pain than by facing it.

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