believer review

Believer has all the hallmarks of what you’d expect from a drug crime movie: a femme fatale, an untrustworthy ally, multiple severed limbs, and even more gut-churning twists. And while Believer somewhat subscribes to the character types and recognizable tropes of the genre, the twists feel fresh enough and the tangled webs of drug world conspiracies are riveting enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Director Lee Hae-young‘s remake of the Johnnie To film Drug War transports the story from Hong Kong to South Korea, giving To’s gritty crime thriller a sleek and moody makeover that alternates between fits of cartoonish violence and moments of poignant contemplation. But while the basic beats of To’s 2012 film are there, Lee takes Believer to another level of brutal introspection — which sometimes works.

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believer clip

If you could believe it, the No. 1 reigning movie at the South Korean box office right now is not Solo: A Star Wars Story, but a homegrown crime thriller called Believer. That’s right, Lee Hae-young‘s taut and brutal remake of Johnnie To’s gritty Hong Kong crime epic Drug War has currently blasted Solo right out of the top spot — and now it’s coming to the U.S.

Ahead of Believer‘s stateside release this weekend, we’re debuting an exclusive Believer clip featuring a drug deal gone wrong.

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The Handmaiden trailer

Following a brief foray into English-language filmmaking with Stoker, South Korean director Park Chan-wook returns to his home turf this fall with The Handmaiden. Well, kind of — his new thriller is actually an adaptation of the Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, with the action moved from Victorian-era Britain to Japanese-occupied Korea. Kim Tae-ri plays a young woman who’s hired by a con man (Ha Jung-woo) to help him defraud a Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee). But the plan goes sideways when the two women begin to fall in love with one another.

The Handmaiden is just coming off of a warm debut at Cannes, and the first trailer suggests Park hasn’t lost any of his lavish style or pulse-pounding intensity. Watch The Handmaiden trailer after the jump. Read More »