One of the biggest box-office hits of 2008, The Chaser
won the prestigious Grand Prize award at the 44th Baeksang Art Awards and brought down the house during its screening at the 61st Cannes Film Festival. Moreover, the film took home five top prizes at the 45th Daejong Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. In his brilliant directorial and screenwriting debut, helmer Na Hong Jin presents a crime thriller loosely based on a real-life infamous serial killer who murdered more than twenty victims - mostly prostitutes. The Chaser
centers on one man's harrowing and inexorable pursuit of an insidious serial killer and the bitter reality of our society. Attracting one million theatergoers in its opening week mainly through word of mouth, The Chaser
surpassed the 2003 record achieved by its genre's benchmark Memories of Murder
. Award-winning veteran Kim Yoon Seok, best known for his villainous role as "A-gui" in Tazza: The High Rollers
, and Ha Jung Woo, who previously starred in Kim Ki Duk's arthouse films Breath
, make brilliant turns playing the chaser and the chased, respectively. Breaking from the pattern of its predecessors, The Chaser
sets new standard for Korean thrillers by taking a no-nonsense approach teeming with intense realism and maximum suspense.
Stripped of his badge because of corruption charges, ex-cop Joong Ho (Kim Yoon Seok) now runs an escort service. Though an angel fallen from the grace, Joong Ho stills hangs on to a speck of conscience. The recent surge of mysterious disappearances involving his girls have kept him on his toes. It is not until Mi Jin (Seo Young Hee, Shadows In The Palace) is sent out in response to a patron's call that Joong Ho realizes the phone number of Mi Jin's client matches that of the last call received by all of his missing girls. While frantically searching for Mi Jin, Joong Ho spots Young Min (Ha Jung Woo) whose bloodstains instinctually convince him that he's got the suspect in hand. Nabbing him, Joong Ho brings Young Min to the police, and astoundingly, the suspect confesses to the killings of all the missing prostitutes. Donning a conniving smirk, Young Min hints that Mi Jin could still be alive. Young Min is released due to lack of evidence, but rather than dispatching a search team for the missing captive, the police shift their focus on other issues. Taking the matters to his own hands, Joong Ho begins his relentless chase for the killer.