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"Won Bin’s heartthrob’s pretty boy image is shattered, tossed out, and forever lost buried under the pile of blood splattered bodies in his latest film “The Man from Nowhere” (Korean title “Ajeossi”) ― an ultra-violent ode to the hard boiled American grindhouse pictures of the... Show More
"Won Bin’s heartthrob’s pretty boy image is shattered, tossed out, and forever lost buried under the pile of blood splattered bodies in his latest film “The Man from Nowhere” (Korean title “Ajeossi”) ― an ultra-violent ode to the hard boiled American grindhouse pictures of the 1970s. As if channeling the spirit of Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood, Won goes on a one-man vendetta slicing, stabbing, shooting, blowing up an entire cadre of pimps, pushers, and organ harvesters to save a young girl from captivity. For many of his fans, he may never again be seen as the clean cut, sensitive fellow from such saccharine television dramas as “Autumn in my heart.” This film is his grand send off of the character archetype that had served him so well for an entire decade and his transition into the dark side is quite convincing. During Tuesday’s press screening, gasps and yelps were heard sporadically from female viewers as if they were unprepared to see such carnage on the big screen. Perhaps the shock effect was magnified as a large portion of the unflinching violence came from Won’s character, the mercilessly cruel Tae-sik ― a former special agent with a harrowing past. The film’s bloody content may turn off some fans that are not too keen on excessive screen violence, but helping alleviate some of the carnage is the stirring depiction of the film’s two social outcasts that lies at the heart of the picture. The scenes involving Tae-sik and the little girl are ones full of charm and warmth so that once the body count begins you can’t help but root for this mad man to get her back in his loving embrace. And since the source of his rage comes from his mission to save her from the lowest depth of the criminal underworld, it doesn’t feel too bad seeing the baddies get their comeuppance in many creatively masochistic ways. “Of course this is an action film, but it was vital for me to amplify Tae-sik’s emotional consciousness after he loses the young girl,” Won said of his role during the post-screening Q session. “He’s a man who has willingly cut himself off from the world because of his tragic past and it was only because of this neighborhood girl he gets back in touch with his own humanity and that was the driving force behind my performance in the film.” Director Lee said of Won’s performance, “Those who saw the film will know better that it was evident on screen how much preparation and hard work (Won Bin) put into this role and how difficult it must have been physically for him,” and added “but with this film, it wasn’t just the physical aspects of his performance that he overcame, he also overcame the concerns voiced by his critics on whether he could pull off such an emotionally complex role.”" Quoting the program notes from the 201 Fantastic Fest site Show Less
Cast: Won Bin, Sang-Kyeong Son, Kim Hee Won, Kim Tae Hoon, Kyeong-eup Nam, Su-ryun Baek, Kim Sung-oh, Min-ho Hwang, Jae-won Lee, Jeong Do-won, Lee Jong Pil, Young-chang Song, Hyo-seo Kim, Hong So-hee, Kim Sae-ron, Kwak Do-won, Seok-hyeon Jo, Thanayong Wongtrakul (Show Less)
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