Film Review: Cold Eyes

Article by Pui See Tsang

Cold Eyes, directed by Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo, is a Korean remake of the 2007 Hong Kong thriller Eye in the Sky. The film begins when a young cop named Ha Yoon-joo (Han Hyo-joo) aces a test and is recruited into an elite group of surveillance investigators in the heart of Seoul, led by Detective Hwang (Seol Kyung-gu). The crack team comes up against a tough opponent named James (Jung Woo-sung), a vicious criminal who stages big heists as he oversees operations from high vantage points with the aid of a phone and a binocular. The field team is small and close-knit, held together by a wise team leader who works closely with an action team and a tech team. They have access to every CCTV camera and state-of-the-art body and motion recognition software in the city, which surprisingly are not enough to stop their incredibly cunning opponent.

Cold Eyes is set to premiere in North America at the Toronto International Film Festival’s gala presentations section, giving the film the exposure it deserves. Inspired by Hollywood cinema, the creators of Cold Eyes have researched popular films extensively and discovered a way to incorporate their findings into their own film. It borrows stylistic ideas from blockbuster hits like Heat (1995), The Dark Knight (2011), and the HK thriller Eye in the Sky (2007).

The presentation is mechanical and serious, but the result will leave viewers feeling stimulated. The camerawork and editing are superbly done, and probably groundbreaking. Cold Eyes became the tenth highest-grossing film in 2013 and also managed to put its leading actress, Han Hyo-joo, in the position to land a couple of best actress accolades, with the most prestigious award coming from the 34th Blue Dragon Film Awards. This film is definitely worth watching. Although the storyline may be a bit generic, the film makes up for it with its unique cinematographic style. It also provides a different cultural perspective from its source material, Eye in the Sky.

You can catch Jo Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo’s Cold Eyes during New York Asian Film Festival from June 27 and runs till July 14 in NYC.

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