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‘Squid Game’ Star’s Movie Bloodbath Rattles Cannes

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21.05.2022

Hunt is—excitingly or disappointingly, depending on your preferences—not a gritty, character-based reboot of the Mission: Impossible franchise, but instead a political thriller from South Korea, made by Squid Game’s breakout star Lee Jung-jae in his directorial debut. The fact that Hunt is so clearly a debut, with all the messy, bumpy execution that that implies, is partially offset by the film’s sheer energy and its walloping budget, which help turn the whole exercise into a wham-bam guns ‘n’ explosions romp.

At the outset of Hunt, a series of stern title cards and hilariously broad exposition scenes feed us a lot of information as to the political situation in which the movie is embedded: that is, the apex of military dictatorship in South Korea in the 1980s, when the country was seeking a path toward Western growth. In these opening vignettes, the camera works busily, ferreting its way through crowds, zooming hither and thither, and generally giving a fine sense of urgency, as intelligence officers watch over a student demonstration that has the potential to turn violent—which it does, suddenly and almost parodically, launching the film into wholly different territory, as it then turns into a straight-up, essentially........

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