We see our fair share of art cinema each year at Cannes, but the fest always offers up at least one example of pure, unadulterated genre cinema, and last year, audiences on the Croisette also got a little taste of “A Hard Day”: a Korean crime thriller that looks joyously, unapologetically, magnificently bonkers.
The story of a homicide detective who juggles his mother’s recent death with a horrific freak accident and a mounting Internal Affairs investigation, “A Hard Day” has received mostly laudatory notices from stateside critics. That goes for our own Jessica Kiang, who called Kim-Seong Hoon’s film “a total blast,” as well as “a remarkably well-constructed and well-written movie that manages to keep you with it, somehow investing in the stakes of the spiraling situations even though those situations are patently absurd.” An intense new trailer has landed online for your viewing pleasure and it’s chockablock with the requisite fisticuffs and car chases that are par for the course in this sort of movie. It is, however, also charged with an admirably bizarre, go-for-broke visual energy that will hopefully separate it from its more generic American counterparts.
One need only look as far as Park Chan-Wook’s beloved “Oldboy” or Bong Joon-Ho’s woefully underrated monster movie “The Host” to see how talented Korean filmmakers are capable of shaking up otherwise standard Hollywood movie formulas with an unbending, eccentric vision and considerable formal chops. One can only hope that “A Hard Day” follows in that tradition, and the first trailer sure is promising. It’s brief and intense, scored to hard-hitting guitar rock that’s all but guaranteed to get the blood pumping. Some of the more acrobatic action snippets evoke the gonzo Hong Kong films of the great John Woo (minus the doves and dual pistols, of course) and, at times, an even more controlled, less frenzied version of recent action smash “The Raid.”
Check out the trailer for “A Hard Day” below. The film bows in U.S. theaters on July 17th.