Any definition of grim and dark is not complete without mentioning Asian cinema. And any list of Asian cinema masterpieces is not complete without mentioning “The Chaser”.
Although at times the film feels too macabre to be anything but a dark fantasy it is based on true events: the story of the South Korean serial killer and cannibal Yoo Young-chul who is currently on death row since 2004. His crimes are still sparkling the death penalty debate in South Korea, the country where death penalty is still permissible by the law but hasn’t been executed since 1997.
What is the best about the film is that it feels like real life with all its randomness. South Korean police is not shown as incapable. They are real people who make reasonably logical judgments in the circumstances they are in. They get side-tracked on other, more “important” things, get tired, and make mistakes. Plus their minds just can’t comprehend the full extent of the un-human illogical horror that is Yoo Young-chul.
There is a bit of hope added into the scary mix in the form of Eom Joong-ho, dirty cop turned pimp. He is the main force that drives the chase which is as much the chase after the remains of his humanity as the chase after the serial killer.