Director: Lee Jung-jae Run Time: 131 min. Format: DCP Release Year: 2022 Language: Korean
Starring: Go Youn-jung, Heo Sung-tae, Jeon Hye-jin, Jung Man Sik, Kim Jong Soo, Lee Jung-jae
IFFBoston Fall Focus 2022
Set during a period of peak tensions between North and South Korea in the 1980s, Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae’s directorial debut is an electrifying espionage thriller. Co-starring Lee and Korean star Jung Woo-sung as government agents trying to smoke out a mole, Hunt plunges the viewer into a labyrinth of secrets where nothing is quite what it seems. The result is one of the most impressive action movies in years.
Following a failed assassination attempt on South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan, KCIA Foreign Unit chief Park (Lee) and Domestic Unit head Kim (Jung) are charged with the task of identifying the conspirators. The men share a fraught history—some years ago, Kim subjected Park to an interrogation that left him with permanent nerve damage—and each suspects the other of being a double agent. While the rivals search for incriminating evidence against each other, their investigation leads them to a shadowy figure, codenamed Donglim, who appears to have infiltrated the agency. Uncovering Donglim’s true identity will keep the men tethered together and set them on a path involving shootouts, car chases, and much bloodshed.
Lee and Jo Seung-hee’s screenplay balances complex political stakes with carefully paced character development and deep intrigue. Crosscutting between the two protagonists in a propulsive relay, Lee and editor Kim Sang-bum bring the story to life in a manner that is relentlessly kinetic, whether through elaborate set pieces or an unnervingly brutal fist fight, keeping us on the edge of our seats—and keeping us wondering whom to trust—until the credits roll and we finally come up for air.
—Toronto International Film Festival guide
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