The Man from Nowhere
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Tae-shik is an ex-special agent whose tragic past has made him distance himself from the world. He now lives in solitude and runs a small pawnshop. The only people he now sees are the few pawnshop customers and So-mi (Kim Sae-Ron), the young girl who lives next door. So-mi has also been neglected by the world and as she and Tae-shik begin to spend more time together, the two gradually open themselves to one another and become friends. Then one day, So-mi suddenly disappears. So-mi s mother becomes involved in a major crime causing both her and So-mi to get kidnapped. Tae-shik is drawn back out into the world in a frantic search for So-mi s whereabouts. In order to save So-mi, his one and only friend in this world, Tae-shik makes a certain arrangement with the crime mob. While So-mi is still nowhere to be found, the police begin to chase after Tae-shik. With the police and the underground mob close on his tail, Tae-shik continues his frantic search for So-mi and his hidden past slowly becomes revealed...
"Slick, Stylish, and Gut Wrenching Thriller" --Twitch
"A Sweet Ass Flick....Truly Impressive" --Film School Rejects
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The film starts off brisk and even at a runtime of almost two hours, Ajusshi/The Man From Nowhere moves quickly through punch after punch. Won Bin helps make the two hours pass by quickly with his reserved portrayal of a lonely man quietly holding in his painful past. You immediately connect with him and with his friendship with neighbor, the little So Mi. Kim Sae Ron is a fresh little talent that also equally gets you to care about her character right off the bat.
The film is definitely not for the faint of heart. It has a dark, grimy, seedy backdrop of the drug and human trade in Asia. The rage and vengeance that grows in Tae-sik as the movie rolls along adds even more to that foreboding and often bloody atmosphere. But that’s what makes the unexpected heart and sincerity all the more, well, unexpected.
You’ve got to have a deft hand to be able to balance what would appear to be such contrasting themes, to have such a hopeful and touching undercurrent run through a film set in the midst of drugs and violence. But writer and director Lee Jeong-beom does just that. The excellent cinematography, most especially in a scene where the camera is step by step with Tae-sik as he jumps out of a window and lands right on the ground below, resonates to give the film its gritty essence. An excellently shot and well choreographed knife fight is also a highlight (and the bloodiest) of the film.
Ajusshi/The Man From Nowhere has thrilling chases, exciting fight and action scenes, juicy and affecting twists and that heart-tugging sincerity that just explodes at you in the film’s final scenes.
It only takes one little flashback to help you understand the friendship Tae-sik has with So Mi and what compels him to go to great and bloody lengths to save her. Never have I shed a tear at the end of a bloody action thriller that isn’t about a war. And I’m not afraid to admit that.
The final scenes in particular were some of the best MaGMCs (Make a Grown Man Cry Moments) I have ever seen. And that is a testament to the writing, directing, and the stellar performances from Won Bin and Kim Sae Ron. I dare anyone not to feel a little tug on their heartstrings at the end of the film.
Ajusshi/The Man From Nowhere is a completely satisfying and thrilling ride through revenge and hope and it is clear to see why so many people absolutely loved this film.