Tae-soo has been a lazy policeman, but accidentally he runs into Kang-cheon, whose car is covered with blood. Tae-soo suspects the worker to be the serial killer that kills young women for months. It is revealed that Kang-cheon killed Tae-soo's sister as well. Kang-cheon is sent to prison on a life sentence. Seung-hyeon, Tae-soo's brother in law wants to take revenge on Kang-cheon, and makes a deal with a prisoner to kill Kang-cheon in prison.Written by
Engrossing crime thriller with some flaws that prevent it from being great
This is one of the most entertaining Korean thrillers I've seen in a while; it feels like it was made by someone who saw all the other Korean crime films and decided to steal a bit from each to make his own movie. That's not bad per se, but each of the borrowed elements feels too familiar. For example, you have a serial killer who operates during rainy nights, a lazy protagonist cop, incompetent police, stereotypical characters who behave just like you would expect and so on.
I admit this first paragraph might have sounded a bit harsh. The Deal isn't a bad movie at all, far from it. It's too well made to be easily dismissed. Director Son Young-ho certainly knows what he's doing and shows a lot of potential in his debut. The films' narrative moves at a quick pace that, in my opinion, seemed perfectly timed for the several revelations and twists it has in store. It often felt like watching a Memories of Murder/I Saw the Devil combo, which is a great thing when you're talking about gritty atmosphere or merciless action. Indeed, there are several brutal fight/action scenes that will leave you breathless and are alone worth the price of admission. They look quite realistic and painful.
Visually, it's a treat. There is no scene here that looks misplaced or not in sync with the rest of the movie. Everything is just the way it should be; every camera angle is in its place and the use of focus in a couple hallucinatory scenes compliments the beauty of every shot. I really didn't expect such a stylish and glossy looking film from a first time filmmaker.
The acting is good, but I do have some complaints. Sang-kyung Kim as the protagonist cop often acts like he's in some grandiose soap opera while Seong-woong Park as the killer sports a sinister smirk that never registers; sometimes he does it even when badly wounded, which is more amusing than threatening. Otherwise, everyone here is decent and there's no one who stands out as a "bad" actor.
Although familiar and predictable to a certain extent, The Deal is very entertaining and immersive. You're likely to see a better thriller than this, but rarely do they fly by as quickly as this one.
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