No one makes better thrillers than Korean cinema. I will like to add one more film to the kitty of great thrillers and films watched – No Mercy, directed by Kim Hyeong-jun. It is an intense revenge thriller and also has a lot of emotional depth to it as the film progresses. No Mercy isn’t any usual revenge drama. It has its fair share of twists and turns and some gut-wrenching scenes too.
No Mercy starts with a dead body found by two individuals at a place near a river. The body is cut into six pieces with its hand missing. The film takes off right from its very first frame. The crime place is investigated and a special coroner is assigned named Dr. Kang Min-ho (Sol Kyung-gu). The introduction of Dr. Kang is shown him as a professor, who teaches students about bodies and how to investigate. He visits the crime spot and there he comes across Detective Min (Han Hee-jin). She seems to be her ex-student and is ridiculed quite a lot by her senior Yoon Jong-gang (Sung Ji-ru). But as the movie progresses, we see that Kang has his trust in Min and how he lets her take the case ahead along with him and his forensics. During the investigation, it is found that the death has occurred somewhere else and then the body has been brought near the river. In this case, different cement factories and sites are to be investigated due to some investigation results. Here, they find the missing hand from the body and they also see a group protesting against the cement factory as it pollutes the river alongside and has its adverse effects. Protest is led by Lee Seong-ho (Ryoo Seung-bum) who has also written a book about his beliefs and ideas regarding the river and its source and how he worships it to some extent.
Detective Min finds that Lee is the one who’s involved in the killing and therefore, they raid him and arrest him. Lee, on the other hand, confesses to being the killer and here, the movie takes a leap and the real game starts between Kang and Lee. Lee asks Kang to get him out of the jail in three days or else he will kill his daughter, who’s abducted by him and who was supposed to come after thirteen years to meet Kang. This makes Kang furious and in all his helplessness decides to help Lee and turn the case on its head. Further, the case revolves around it and how an open and shut case turns out to be a revenge thriller, is worth watching. Every moment the tension increases and makes you think about its further scene. Some scenes are tough to handle and also the helplessness of Kang is quite evident. You feel that pain of what he’s suffering through and his agony during this whole process. Film’s climax will just tear you apart and your beliefs that developed throughout the film.
Performances of this film are brilliant, especially Sol Kyung-gu. He has excelled in this role like anything. A show stopper who has elevated the film with his sheer greatness. Ryoo Seung-bum portrays his devilish character and his pain quite well. Han Hee-jin belongs to the film and its story completely. She seems perfect for the role and does it beautifully.
The background music also adds to the essence and enhances the chase sequences and some really gritty scenes. Park Ji-man has done a commendable job here. The cinematography by Kim Woo-hyung is top-notch and the film is well edited with no unnecessary scenes here and there by Kim Sun-min.
It is a thriller that makes you think about choosing sides. More than morality and the righteous nature, it focuses on how each man has a side to it. At your lowest or in selfishness, how one can turn out to be evil. It ends with a saying that, “It’s not death that’s most painful, it’s how to forgive.” An engaging and quite intense thriller about revenge, pain, emotions and some past. Give it a shot!
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.