“Na directs like a pole dancer – balancing difficult technical manoeuvres with a racy mixture of grace
and sleaze” - The Hollywood Reporter
Written and directed by Na Hong-jin, The Yellow Sea follows Gu-nam as he descends into a nightmare. Gu-nam, an ethnic Korean (or chosun-juk), spends his time losing money at mahjong, driving a cab or passed out in his squalid apartment. His wife has left to find work in South Korea, and Gu-nam has built up a debt that he seems unlikely to work or gamble his way out of.
When he can’t pay what he owes, he lands before a gangster, Myun-ga (Kim Yun-seok, in a tour de force performance), who will wipe out Gu-nam’s debt if he kills a man. In a story that combines Grand Guignol with raw realism, there are double-crosses, a clandestine trip to Seoul, and chases that are as spectacularly choreographed and sometimes as funny as those in a Looney Tunes cartoon.
Mr Na, reunited with the cinematographer and editor who worked on his feature debut, The Chaser, makes 140 minutes fly with scenes that alternately take their time and compress life histories into a few shots. The kinetic filmmaking conveys the palpitating fear of the chase and the thrill of escape in a movie that suggests that – for all the miles Gu-nam racks up – for him there may be no exit. - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times