Nowhere to Hide

Director: Lee Myung-Se
Screenwriters: Lee Myung-Se

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


With its scintillating and explosive visual style, Nowhere to Hide reminds us that cinematic invention is not the exclusive province of more established film industries. Meet director Lee Myung-Se, one of the leading lights of the Korean New Wave of the late 1980’s. Myung-Se displays a virtuoso’s touch as he executes this fusion of action and art.

The story at the center of this exhilarating technique is simple enough. Detective Woo (the homage needs no explanation) is pursuing the city’s top drug lord, Chang Sungmin, for the brutal and bold killing of a competing gang leader. As elusive as he is mysterious, Sungmin engages Woo in a noir-ish, yet credible, game of cat and mouse that keeps extending itself as Sungmin proves himself the master of escape. Along the way, the police utilize every method of apprehension and coercion they know to track their target, but the chase continues. And in many ways, you don’t really want it to end because Nowhere to Hide is such spectacularly entertaining and compelling filmmaking.

Lee talks of having studied movement in developing this film, and his use of camera, the natural elements of light and rain, and the eclectic architecture of the port of Inchon creates a kinetic thrill ride. Expertly utilizing complex graphic effects, a terrific modern score, and the screen charisma of his two leads, Lee’s inventive accomplishments in Nowhere to Hide place him in the top ranks of action-genre innovators.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details


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