Countdown (2011)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Ka-woon-teu-da-woon

South Korea, 2011.  B.O.M. Film Productions Co..  Screenplay by Jong-ho Huh.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  Toronto International Film Festival 2011.  

Thrilling action film from Korea, about a debt collector who stops at nothing to get people to pay up when they’re past due. When he collapses mid-drive and finds out from a doctor that he has liver cancer, he is given only a few months to live and decides not to take it lying down. The driver knows a group of organ donors who owe him a favour, and one by one he tracks them down in the hopes of convincing one of them to give him what he needs to survive. It’s just his luck that the person most accommodating for this request is also the riskiest, a slinky con artist who has just been released from prison with a lot of bad guys on her tail from whom she has stolen a lot of money. Our hero takes her into his custody, but then must contend with her duplicity, her enemies, his own complications, and a nagging past whose heartbreaking memories are never far beyond his reach. It’s a skilful combination of high-octane thrills (the car chases are amazing) and deeply moving drama, an eccentric patching together of genres that only Korean cinema can pull off with such style and smooth excitement. The performances by  and in the leads couldn’t possibly be better, and the film looks like a million dollars. A real winner.

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