The Man from Nowhere is a 2010 South Korean action-thriller film that came out of nowhere to become one of the best films of 2010. Starring Won Bin in his first defining role, the film was written and directed by the impeccable Lee Jeong-beom. It is bloody and violent to the nth degree. The film tells the tale of a grieving special forces agent living a forlorn life as a pawnshop owner. His only contact with the outside world is a wide-eyed and friendless little girl with a drug-addicted mother.
There are no average performances in this film. The writing is exquisite and the score is infused not just with the underlying tension but an empowering force that allows it to captivate your ears as the story enchants your mind. You find yourself cheering and frowning as the bodies pile up and justice becomes a forgotten idea amongst the abhorrent crimes committed. But make no mistake justice exists, but in a very very dark place. The villains portrayed will arise in you a genuine — not at all cliched — hatred and a righteous indignation. And the heroes are merciless and suicidal but ultimately admirable.
Man From Nowhere is a rich and entertaining film that shakes every part of your humanity and you come alive with the pains of people we have shut out of our minds. It is a modern retelling of the 1994 masterpiece Léon also known as The Professional by Luc Besson, Jean Reno, and a young Natalie Portman. As beloved as that movie was I never thought I would see a fitting comparison to it ever again. But Man From Nowhere does it proud and adds layers of story applicable to our modern society. This film is wicked and I relished every single second of it; and moreover I am better for it.
“You only live for tomorrow. The ones that live for tomorrow get f***ed by the ones living for today. Now I’ll show you how f***ed you really are.”