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Review: THE TUNNEL (2016) Digs Into A Place In Humanity Where The Sun Rarely Shines
Kim Sung-Hoon surprised me last year when I finally got around to watching his most recent crime thriller, A Hard Day. It was a perfect introduction into his work for me and so that didn't leave much to be concerned with in lieu of his latest movie, The Tunnel, which, according to Variety's most recent report, is still topping the Korean box office as of its second week. Author Sae Jo-Won's 2013 novel serves as the inspiration for Kim's own script which stands as way more than a mere underdog tale of one man's survival against the elements. Most prolifically, it dares to cast an obligatory spotlight on some of the worst scenarios that could occur in any situation that stands similar in nature as lives hang in the balance.
One such life is that of Lee Jung-Soo, portrayed by actor Ha Jung-Woo, a car salesman on his way home in time for his daughter's birthday. About six minutes into the film and not a moment later, the worst happens when the tunnel he enters completely collapses, trapping him and other motorists in a gargantuan pile of rock, iron, dirt and rubbish with no way in or out on either end. Rescue efforts commence as Lee struggles to make do with little what he has on him in food, water and battery life for his phone among other things. On hand on the outside is actor Oh Dal-Su in the role of Dae-Kyung who is among the first with the nation's rescue units on the scene, while Lee's wife Se-yun, played by actress Bae Doo-Na, wastes little to no time arriving there upon learning of her husband's situation.
From there, the story immerses you into a myriad of highs and lows that flesh out our characters even more in their respective dimensions. Moments of mild levity and compassion, as well as those of pure repulsion and glutton, illumimate our characters - main and supplemental - amid the chaos that unfolds both inside and outside the pile of rubble that symbolize the core of humanity's most definining moments. Such moments are iterated by a notable supporting cast which includes - and isn't limited to, actress Nam Ji-Hyun in the role of Mina, and actor Jung Suk-Yong makes a worthy cameo as Choi, a valiant and charasmatic rescue team leader. Others include actor Yoo Seung-Mok who plays an overzealous news reporter, actress Kim Hae-Sook in the role of a government minister playing politics with the rest of her ilk, and a rambunctious pug who all but keeps Lee on his toes, even under hundreds and hundreds of feet of rubble.
The performances are relatively outstanding among the cast with Ha and Bae front and center, in addition to Oh whose role as Kim, much like Reginald Veljohnson was to actor Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988), is the voice of reason for Lee who all but suffers near-limitless turmoil of never knowing if he'd live or die. Rescue efforts prove to be long and winded, and with a plot twist that ultimately sees things turn for the worse, forcing Se-Hyun to bear the brunt of the grievance of those who've died trying to rescue her husband - something that speaks to the often flawed and irrational tran of thought one goes through with anger, in my opinion. It certainally affected me the most while I watched the film and observed this, on top of other disturbing proclivities our main characters are subject to throughout the unfolding drama.
Indeed, The Tunnel was one of the most compelling (and sometimes gutting) films I've seen. It grips you in some ways you least expect while making the most out of its actors, using its perilous moments as the inertia it needs, and not as "characters" themselves as other directors may try to, which feels pretentious to a certain degree depending on the film. With Ha, Bae and Oh anchoring this fine dramatic venture, the film is also very much a mark of continued sharpness and career progress from a filmmaker I wish I paid attention to a year sooner. If there is one thing Kim knows how to do at the director's chair, it is tell great stories that focus on people more than spectacle, and flesh out the best of what they can offer in the moments scenes call for in a film, and The Tunnel, much to his credit, is no exception.
Click here to learn more about the film's August 26 release in select theaters this Friday from Well Go USA.
Honorary Oscar winner Jackie Chan is in Shanghai stirring a ruckus for attendees and fellow stars at the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival. More news on this will rollout eventually and there will be plenty to sift over amid the buzz for Chan and his upcoming titles, and the same goes for the Fall release of the new thriller, The Foreigner, which is getting an October 13 release from STX.
The film takes its cues from Stephen Leather's novel, The Chinaman and is adapted for the screen by David Marconi with Casino Royale helmer Martin Campbell directing. Chan is joined by Pierce Brosnan, Liu Tao and Katie Leung for the story of a South London restaurant owner who reverts to the lethal skillset built in his dark past, paving his own way for vengeance after an IRA terrorist attack that kills his family and the justice system fails him.
The film has already made itself a share of festival appearances with a few gamey one-sheets but we now have an official first poster for its …
Well guys, my hiatus was a brief but fair one. It was a necessary breather to help recoup from the workload and best part about all this is that people are still creating!
So yeah, that's a nice thing to come back to. That's what The Hit List is for and I've found (and have also been sent) some GREAT stuff to share this week. It's also a lot to unpack so without further ado, the stunt reels are up first as always and we begin with Amy Sturdivant's most recent Vimeo upload. I meant to share hers before going on break but YouTube parameters were a factor and Vimeo was the only option left. So, better late than never, and with a demo reel as substantive as this being all the more reason worth sharing.
Following that is a playlist ripe with awesome stunt and action demos by Francis Limoges, Drew Reade, Gaby Rodriguez, Jennifer Badger, Gene Freeman, David Van Tassell, Domenica Rossi, Brytni Lavender, and stunt/fight coordinator reels by Airon Armstrong and Roberto Lopez…
It's understandable that one forgets things. Amid all the film festival hype I damn near forgot that a live-action adaptation of Sakurai Gamon's hit manga, Ajin: Demi Human was on the way which makes me wonder how come it's not heading to festivals this year, unless I'm wrong.
If not, I reckon part of this is due to the amount of work being put into the spectacular action sequences and immersive visuals with Bayside Shakedown film series and Shaolin Girl helmer Motohiro Katsuyuki at the helm. There wasn't a lot of footage in the previous teaser to showcase it much but there was just enough to garner some much-deserved interest and as of Sunday, to say the least, the official trailer guarantees the promise being offered here in a much more assuring fashion.
The film opens in Japan on September 30 and much to the delight of fans of both the manga, the anime series and films, as well as Rurouni Kenshin star Satoh Takeru. He leads the cast of the film as Nagai Kei, a …