Hollywood Reporter - 12/26/2000
"...Ultrastylish....With a provocative soundtrack....NOWHERE also boasts smashing cinematography..."
Sight and Sound - 07/01/2001
"...An accomplished action thriller....[Park] radiates a coiled energy born from years of tough graft and hard knocks -- a performance of soulful intensity..."
Los Angeles Times - 12/22/2000
"...NOWHERE TO HIDE reveals that in Lee Myung-Se Korea has a filmmaker with enough razzle-dazzle and visceral appeal to rival Hong Kong's -- and Hollywood's -- John Woo..."
NOWHERE TO HIDE, the sixth feature from Korean New Wave writer-director Lee Myung-Se (GAGMAN) is an arty police action film jam-packed with style and attitude. Fans of Asian directors Takeshi "Beat" Kitano and John Woo will recognize the iconographic character of Detective Woo (Park Joong-Hoon), a slouching, thuggish homicide cop in South Korea's port city of Inchon. Woo smiles like a mischievous child, but he carries a baseball bat in his car, and leads a stooge-like squad of cops brandishing iron nightsticks. Along with his straitlaced partner, Kim (Jang Dong-Kun), Woo embarks on a sleepless, months-long hunt for the brutal killer who murdered a drug kingpin on the city's centralized monument, 40 Steps. Woo and his gangster-like men violently clash with suspects in colorful freeze frames and slow-motion shots, accompanied by a pumped-up rock score. After being defeated in a slapstick dance-like fight, a drug runner leads Woo to a primary suspect's femme fatale girlfriend, Juyon (Choi Ji-Woo). The detective then begins an infuriating game of watch and wait. Full of visual panache and humor, Lee's stylish thriller climaxes in a glorious rain-drenched mano a mano between the brutally tenacious Woo and his elusive prey.
Lee Myung-Se describes the visual style of his film as "chong chung dong," or "stillness within movement.
Only the recently relaxed censorship in Korea allowed for Lee to make a film with such violently portrayed policemen. Nonetheless, he says the police closely monitored the film while it was being made.
In addition to writing and directing, Lee was also the film's production designer.
NOWHERE TO HIDE was featured at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, and at the Museum of Modern Art/Film Society of Lincoln Center's 2000 New Directors/New Films festival in New York City.
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