Once again we have another film out of South Korea that is going to anger a lot of communists and K-pop fans due to its refusal to rewrite its history.
Despite what American young adults and college professors want you to believe, North Korea is a communist country, which both North and South Koreans can agree on. This South Korean film focuses on an ugly chapter of its communist history, the 1983 Aung San terrorist attack in which North Korean officials attempted to assassinate the South Korean president.
Because modern communists deny North Korea’s ties to communism, they also deny the role North Korea played in the Gwangju Uprising, a communist movement disguised as a “pro-democracy” movement (sounds familiar) seeking to undermine the South Korean state. Give it enough time and these people will tell you that the USSR was a “pro-capitalist society”.
Temporarily ignoring the hilarity of pushing a “pro-democracy” movement in *clears throats* SOUTH Korea and not their neighbors to the North, to this day, communists despise former President Chun Doo-hwan for his anti-communist efforts. Shockingly, the people of South Korea weren’t inspired to turn to Karl Marx after witnessing North Korea’s body count.
This leads us to a film called “Hunt” which hits at the internal conflict of the nation’s effort to prevent the North from breaking down their country. In the early 1980s, Hunt tells the story of two South Korean intelligence branches investigating the source of a North Korean mole within the agencies.
KCIA Foreign Unit chief Park Pyong-ho (Lee Jung-jae) and Domestic Unit chief Kim Jung-do (Jung Woo-sung) are working together in trying to find a mole within their ranks who is feeding information to the North Koreans. Both agents strive for what they believe is good for South Korea’s future but are both comprised when they are close to individuals who are involved with the coup.
Hunt is the directorial debut of Lee Jung-jae who pulls quadruple duty in the film as the director, actor producer, and screenwriter. However, that may have been the film’s detriment because ‘Hunt’ is a film that has a compelling story but tries to do too much in one frame.
The story becomes hard to follow towards the later end of the run time due to the fact that the story requires one double-cross after another. By the time you get to the end of the movie, you’re not certain who’s on whose side or why they decided to switch sides in the first place.
A story of this magnitude requires a much simpler storytelling method rather than a complex one, especially from a first-time director. Because of this, the film feels like a series of ideas with themes that don’t quite gel. The movie looks great as Lee Jung-Jae clearly has an eye for cinematography within the shooting Style. The bullet points of the story are also well done but the finer points of the character motivations leave a lot to be desired.
A major problem with films in 2022 is the fact that the majority of movies have stretched too long to the point where we are dealing with movies with four acts instead of three. ‘Hunt’ decides to cover three historical events in 1 film leading to a bloated cinematic experience.
There are far worse directorial debuts out there than ‘Hunt’, but there are missed opportunities along the way. ‘Hunt’ is a passable espionage thriller that needs to work on its red notes.
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