To payoff his second girlfriend's debt, hitman Melvin Smiley undertakes a kidnapping job with his usual associates. In a world of prospective Jewish in-laws and late movie fees, the hitman ... See full summary »
Lou Diamond Phillips,
Lee Myung-se is one of the most gifted directors of the contemporary "new wave" movement in Korean cinema. He is a director who's in love with the medium of film, and it shows in his dazzling Nowhere to Hide. The film's plot involves a standard cops and robbers chase, but that's not where its strength lies. This film doesn't bother itself much with "substance," e.g. richly developed characters with whom we can sympathize, a serious look at "the human condition," etc. Instead, Nowhere to Hide is all about style and the joy of making films. Lee's style is sort of an amalgamation of Wong Kar-wai (the visuals) and John Woo (the action), and Nowhere to Hide offers some sumptuous feasts for the eyes. To offer some salient examples: There is an early assassination sequence which is so beautifully shot and creatively edited that it plays out like an impressionist music video (and it also happens to be my favorite scene from any film of its year, 2000); There is a fight sequence which is done completely in shadows; And there is a final fist fight between a cop and robber in the rain that is wonderfully aesthetic. During many scenes of this film, Lee stretches, breaks, and otherwise "tweaks" the visual grammar of film to produce a work that is consistently challenging and thoroughly original. Seldom has "eye candy" been this sweet. This film might not have much by way of substance, but in terms of pure filmmaking craft and originality, it's pretty hard to beat.
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