The Yellow Sea (2010 140min.) [Film4 1.15am friday &+1]
A taxi driver living in an area on the borders of Russia, China and Korea ends up in debt to gangsters due to his gambling habit. A crime boss offers him a clean slate if he goes to South Korea and kills a man. He hopes to track down his missing wife while he is there, but the mission does not go to plan. Crime thriller, starring Jung-woo Ha and Yun-seok Kim. In Korean.
I quite enjoyed this film from the director/star who had previously made (the superior) The Chaser but would stop short of whole hearted recommendation to all viewers.
If you're familiar with (and enjoy) the Korean thriller genre and the tricks that it plays with narrative structure and visual style you will find a lot to admire in Na Hong-jin's film.
The first half is the more successful, with plenty of tension in the set-up and some thrilling set pieces : sadly the second section is largely a succession of (very well shot) shoot-outs, fist fights and car chases - which becomes quite wearying after a while.
The film also suffers from it's failure to resolve not only the central story but also several sub-plots : there's a definite air of setting up a sequel in the final third.
That said, for fans of the genre it's something of a treat as Na Hong-jin really knows his way around an action sequence and the two leads both give strong performance.
Not for everyone but an interesting film for devotees.