A Hard Day (2014)

And you thought you had a hard day. How about this guy’s day which began with a double dose of bad news. His mother has died, and his wife wants a divorce. Of course he’s upset and he’s had a drink or two. While driving, he gets a call that he must visit the undertaker as his mother’s body is ready to be put into a casket.

On the way there, he’s driving and it is night. He’s not quite speeding but suddenly he sees a small dog in the road. He swerves the car to avoid hitting the dog, and a second later he hits a man in the road. The man is dead.

Our guy panics, because he knows he’s had a drink, so he decides he must conceal his crime. So he puts the body of the guy he ran over into the trunk of his car. Within minutes he drives and finds a policeman waving his car over. It’s uniformed cops looking for drunk drivers.

They ask him to take a roadside breathalyzer test. He refuses and then tries to talk his way out of it.

I’m Homicide Detective Ko of the Western Division, he tells the uniformed cop. Can you just let me through, this time. No, the uniforms have their orders. They insist. He refuses. They insist more strongly.

A struggle begins after he pushes the uniform away. He is subdued but now they want to search his car.

That’s just the opening of the film – maybe the first five or seven minutes. And from there – it’s going to get worse.

The film is entitled A Hard Day. It is a South Korean action/thriller by design, but is also a very dark film in the sense that there’s a lot of what you know as ‘black comedy’.

Usually that means – a serious subject, or subjects, like death and divorce, road accidents, police corruption, and violence – are given a twist. This is not say there are jokes, or one-liners, or even funny situations. But when all of the above are compounded, and you reach a series of edge-of-seat thrills all because the movie script wants to shock the audience, you’ll find relief when they take their foot off the accelerator, and you get a respite.  And that is how black comedy works.

That’s when you say something like, Whew! That was intense.

But then it starts up again, and every thing is amped up not ony again, but with more intensity.

Such a film is A Hard Day. Written and directed by Seong-hoon Kim, and starring Sun-kyun Lee as the hard luck Detective Ko and Jin-woong Jo as his nemesis Park Chang-min.

You’ve heard the expression – “And the hits keep just keep on coming”. That could be a radio reference to pop music. But these days, it’s usually meant in sarcastic way – meaning stuff you neither expected, want, or need – keep coming at you, or in this case – Detective Ko.

I think what makes this film a real thrill ride, are the twists and turns, the reversals, the surprises (as in Wow – I never saw that coming and the shocking darkness – all while despite the lack of plausibility, makes for an entertaining and exciting film that will stay with you even after you’ve finished watching.

You can see this via DVD (available from Amazon) or from Netflix streaming. I thought highly of the film, and will bring it in at four point zero.

Check out the trailer with English subtitles:


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