The Suspect isn’t just another action thriller where the director never lets up the pace; it’s also one where the filmmakers constantly force the viewer into one emotional response–a negative one–before relieving the tension a little and creating a hopefulness, then repeating an even more negative situation.
It’s expertly manipulative and director Won seems to understand as long as he goes out with the viewer rewarded enough, no one’s going to hold it against the film. It provides a good ride with minimal resentment.
Even after the final manipulations–Won and writer Lim Sang-yoon eschew a sublime ending for a melodramatic (and entertaining) one–the biggest problems with The Suspect are the technical ones it has all along. Won relies way too much on digital video to insert lame noveau cinéma vérité shots (Suspect is very post-Greengrass Bourne), Shin Min-kyung’s editing is weak and Kim Jun-seong’s music is a little much. But Won makes up for those unpleasantries with excellently staged action sequences and fine directing of his actors.
Gong Yoo plays a North Korean defector who just happens to be a super spy and just happens to find himself in a bunch of trouble. Luckily he’s got the help of a reporter–Yoo Da-in–who’s got an agenda of her own. Too bad his old nemesis from his spying days, Park Hee-soon, is assigned to catch him.
It’s a contrived setup but the actors all make it work; Won handles it all earnestly too. Even the exaggerated costumes.
The Suspect’s a welcome diversion.
Directed by Won Shin-yeon; written by Im Sang-yoon; director of photography, Lee Sung-je; edited by Shin Min-kyung; music by Kim Jun-seong; produced by Yoo Jung-hoon and Shin Chang-hwan; released by Showbox.
Starring Gong Yoo (Ji Dong-cheol), Park Hee-soon (Min Se-hoon), Jo Seong-ha (Kim Seok-ho), Yoo Da-in (Choi Kyeong-hee), Kim Seong-gyoon (Ri Gwang-jo), Jo Jae-yun (Captain Jo), Kim Min-jae (Soo) and Song Jae-ho (Chairman Park).