Detectives Woo and Kim doggedly investigate a gangland killing in Inchon's Forty Steps district.
Lee Myung-Se's sixth feature stands alone in the annals of action. Tailing detectives Woo (Park) and Kim (Jang) as they doggedly investigate a gangland killing in Inchon's Forty Steps district, it's at once a film noir, a cops-on-the-job caper and a rain-sodden, neon-lit poem to a world of ugly violence, treachery and despair.
With its serial-like procession of clues, witnesses and near-misses, the story line is untidy. But aesthetically, it's so precise it's pernickety- almost as if Wong Kar-Wai and John Woo had entered a parody contest. There's an exuberant, (post)modernity about the visuals -the camera is never still and Lee's choice of angle is often inspired. But many of the effects are throwbacks to the silent era - particularly the use of shadows and inserts.
It's art-house with attitude, but self-consciously so.
Reviewed by David Parkinson