Posted on Friday, June 8th, 2018 by Hoai-Tran Bui
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.