The Merciless, 2017
Signed up the 29/03/2017
The Merciless is a South Korean crime-action film directed by Byun Sung-hyun and stars Im Si-wan and Sol Kyung-gu.
The story follows an undercover cop at a prison who befriends an inmate and the two form a friendship that leads them into teaming up to take over a gang but can their friendship withstand all the lies and betrayal that comes before them?
The answer to that is… watch this well-structured flick, that’s a perfect example of what would happened if style and substance came together and had a beautiful baby. The film’s noir-ish cinematography is one that will satisfy most viewers as a mood is created and moments are captured that allow the cast to shine through their performances and stunt choreography.
The film’s beautiful aesthetic is accompanied by the South Korean-esque humour, that’s juxtaposed with its dark themes, another thing the Koreans do so well is balancing the light and dark (thematically and visually) to hit that sweet spot that will satisfy the audiences .
Byun’s control of everything in the frame is surely something to praise as he does mise-en-scene really well, everything from the ration to the frame rate, colour balance, camera placement and blocking is so well thought out, ugh his mind I love it. Though those well versed in the Korean crime-action film scene won’t find anything that makes this film standout in terms of the story, but I found that the way it’s told is kinda refreshing. The jumping back and forth between timelines to reveal motives and motivations and plot twists.
Hyung Rae Cho’s cinematography will make it stand above the rest, it’s colourful, kinetic and dark and moody at the same time, balance y’all. Balance between truth and lie, dark and light, balance between your true self and your shadow self. A plot that flows (seamlessly) with a combination of big action pieces can only give you a film that’s captivating.
Sol Kyung-gu is amazing in his role of Jae-ho and brings his charm and amazing comedic timing to the high octane film, while Im Si-wan steals my heart in the role of Hyun-su, he really is the stand out for me.
Overall the film is highly entertaining with its noir story, which could have been off putting for the new generation of film goers who seem to value substance over style but The Merciless is well balanced in both style and substance. It tries to find its own voice with the Korean action genre.
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