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HUNT (2022, KOR) – 6.5/10

The famous Korean actor Lee Jung-jae (known to many as the main character from the popular series “Squid Game”) chose an action spy thriller for his directorial debut, which takes place in the early eighties when the military dictatorship in South Korea was at its peak. “Hunt” premiered in one of the accompanying programs of the festival in Cannes, and this film continued the trend started a few years ago in Korean cinematography, which thematizes that not-so-democratic period. Ignorance of that part of recent South Korean history is certainly a certain problem for a good part of Western consumers, and that’s partly why “Hunt” seems a bit confused and complicated.

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And South Korea is one of the countries with a long history of military coups, taking power by a military junta and turning the state into a dictatorship. The penultimate military coup there took place at the end of 1979, after the president and leader of the ruling military junta since 1961, Park Chung-hee, was killed a month earlier. This led to a coup d’état in 1979, and then to the next in May 1980 after a large protest against the dictatorship in the city of Gwangju, which was drowned in blood. A state of emergency was immediately introduced in the country, and only in the second half of the eighties did Korea finally become a democracy.

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Lee chose himself for the main role, the head of the foreign division of the Korean secret service, Park Pyong-ho. On the other hand, Kim Jung-do (Jung Woo-sung) is the head of the internal department and there is a great rivalry between the two. It is a time when the tension in relations with the northern neighbors is at its peak and both Koreas are in constant danger due to spies who are constantly arriving. One such person has apparently infiltrated the Korean secret service, and Park and Kim will each try in their own way to find this mole, which they are convinced is in the department that is not under his command. “Hunt” was one of those full-blooded action spectacles in which there is no shortage of excitement and dynamics, as well as twists and surprises. However, we also had some illogicality, exaggeration and everything that spoiled my impression of this film.

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