Over at least the last couple of decades, no one does gritty crime thrillers quite like South Korean filmmakers. There’s a laundry list of incredible titles from a collection of my favorite directors currently working anywhere, and it looks like Byun Sung-hyun wants to add his name to that roster with The Merciless. Check out the international trailer for Cannes-bound picture.
Yeah, The Merciless is right in my wheelhouse. We’ve got down-and-dirty criminals, flashy villains, roundabout shootouts, and a dude using his watch like brass knuckles. There’s betrayal, violence, action, existential dread, and all the usual underworld trappings.
This marks a substantial departure for Byun Sung-hyun. His previous two features are the South Korean hip-hop drama The Beat Goes On and the romantic comedy Whatcha Wearin’?. So, The Merciless is certainly different.
Here’s the synopsis:
Jae-ho, who aims to become the number one in a crime organization, builds up trust with Hyun-su, an ambitious newbie in prison. When they try to take over the organization after their release their ulterior motives start to emerge.
Yeah, sounds like a twisting, turnign Korean crime thriller.
The Merciless stars Sol Kyung-gu (Public Enemy), K-Pop star Yim Si-wan, Kim Hee-won (The Man from Nowhere), and Jeon Hye-jin (Chronicle of a Blood Merchant).
The Merciless is set to debut out of competition in the Midnight Screenings section of Cannes in May, where it joins fellow South Korean action thriller The Villainess from director Jung Byung-gil (Confessions of Murder). Between those two films, Hong Sang-soo’s The Day After and Claire’s Camera, and Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, South Korea is well represented on the Croisette this year.
After Cannes, The Merciless opens in French theaters starting on June 28. There’s no word when it will hit U.S. shores, but CJ Entertainment is handling the release, so hopefully we’ll lay eyes on it sooner rather than later.