Hunt is Lee Jung-jae’s (Squid Game) directorial debut and takes place in the 1980s when government tensions in South Korea are high, and the constant threat from North Korea looms over the country. Two directors at the Korean version of the CIA, Park Pyong-ho (Lee Jung-jae) and Kim Jung-do (Jung Woo-sung), are hunting for a mole within the agency and both suspect each other.
Hunt had a Spy versus Spy vibe, and I enjoyed that aspect. It was interesting to attempt to figure out who exactly our two lead characters were working for and where their loyalty ultimately lies. I found it entertaining, and while it was a maze-filled film, it was relatively easy to follow. It’s fast-paced and does give a somewhat crash course of this period in South Korean history. The duelling viewpoints of Park and Kim concerning politics and government relations were similar but very different, leading to an explosive, both literally and figuratively, ending.
This film was full of mayhem and very violent and the sudden gunshots scared me a few times, making me jump in my seat. There were a few scenes of riot police beating protesters along with interrogation and torture scenes, these scenes won’t be easy for many people to watch and may be borderline gratuitous. However, I think they were in the film to highlight the overall chaos of the time.
Regarding direction and cinematography, the sudden cut to black between scenes was a little off-putting and the transitions could have been smoother. The first scenes also had a bad case of shaky cam, which does help effectively portray the chaos in a film, but hurts my eyeballs. It was a pretty good directorial debut for Lee and while there were some clunky portions, those sorts of things can be refined. I would certainly watch another film directed by him.
Most people would see this film because of Squid Game and Lee Jung-jae, and Squid Game is most likely the reason the film was shown at Cannes to an international audience. However, that global audience didn’t necessarily receive it well. When it was shown at Cannes, some critics panned the film for being confusing. Lee stated after the fact that the intended audience was the younger generation of South Koreans and not an international audience. I don’t know; the complaints reminded me of people complaining about having to read subtitles. More scenes were added after Cannes to explain what it was like during that time and the post-Cannes edit is the version I watched.
I generally like political thrillers, and this was no exception. My opinion on it has improved as time has passed. I saw it last week and initially rated it a 3.5, but now, I’ve increased it to a 4 because I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a good, fast-paced thriller that’s not boring.
I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.