16th Jul2019

‘Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Philip Hersh, So-nee Jeon, Sun-kyun Lee, Young-yu Lee, Hae-Joon Park | Written and Directed by Jeong-beom Lee


Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage, directed by Lee Jeong-beom, stars Lee Sun-kyun as the titular character. A washed-up double-crossing crooked detective who on his latest illegal exploit is uncovered in a larger underground criminal conspiracy scheme that splits his personal life and career in half.

Think a Korean spin on Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver meets Abel Ferrera’s Bad Lieutenant. The story itself, written by Lee Jeong-beom and Im Beom, isn’t all that dissimilar from your usual anti-hero detective thriller born out of conventional genre tropes and flood the South Korean market. However, Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage offers a decent escapade for its audience, with a balance of tone that works perfectly in a less than the harsh approach to the material that could easily be overly muddled and dark.

Comedic in one moment and then the next quite heavy covering an array of morally ambiguous subject matters. Lee Jeong-beom’s film consistently and quite cleverly never falls into one straight forward path of righteousness or condemnation.

Star Lee Sun-kyun showcases an idyllic set of range with his terrific central performance. A complex and corrupt character who digs himself a far deeper hole than he can escape from. It is at times a punishing arc for the audience to witness, especially with the damning projection of the characters actions. That being said, with how Lee Sun-kyun conveys said damage, the film offers an intriguing and eye-opening account of lust and damning assessment of greed.

Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage is on Netflix now.


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