Korean 74, Imported Total admissions: They are listed in the order of their release.
Korean 65, Imported Total admissions: They are listed in the order of their release. Double Agent The recent and ongoing wave of s nostalgia has produced cheeky and heartfelt comedies such as Conduct Zero and Bet on My Disco, as well as sincere dramas such as Champion, looking back into the troubled decade with a mixture of longing, fondness and melancholy.
Although some of these movies are excellent, it is about time that quality films like Memories of Murder blow away the pearly haze surrounding the s, and expose its dark underbelly. Double Agent is another admirable attempt in this direction. An espionage thriller almost classical in its schemata A movie that it immediately reminded me of was Martin Ritt's adaptation of John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Coldthe movie was somewhat overshadowed by the publicity surrounding the casting of Han Suk-kyu and Ko So-youngboth of whom chose this project for a comeback film after long hiatuses.
However, A review on a novel forest gump Southern authorities suspect Rim of false defection and subject him to rounds of unspeakable torture. Asked why he escaped to the South, Rim mutters through torn and blood-encrusted lips, "To There is no liberty in South Korea either, dumbass.
The film explores this theme through its focus on one tough operative caught between two "fatherlands," which merely see him as a pawn in the grand game of chess, expendable and readily replaceable. Rim, in truth, is a North Korean spy.
He withstands the torture and gains trust of the South Korean spooks.
He hides his true loyalties, resists assimilation into the capitalist and pleasure-seeking South Korean culture. And yet when Rim meets his courier cum contact Yun-mi Ko So-youngraised in South Korea as a spy almost from the day of her birth, his absolute faith in the Worker's Party begins to crumble.
A pawn who learned to question his role as a pawn is no longer useful as a pawn, and must be eliminated. Double Agent is relentlessly somber in tone. Those who expect the charming tragi-comedy of The Spy Lee Chul-jin and the slick entertainment of Shiri will be particularly disappointed: Those not familiar with recent Korean history may be completely sideswiped by a major subplot involving the framing of South Korean students in Berlin as Northern spies by the KCIA.
The movie's biggest problem, however, is that Han Suk-kyu and Ko So-young have little chemistry together. Even though Han is as usual very believable in a difficult role, Ko is frankly miscast, unable to convey the combination of romantic fatalism and sharp awareness that her character is supposed to possess.
On the other hand, the movie's technical accomplishments are top-notch. From the title sequence that stunningly and seamlessly integrates Han Suk-kyu into the documentary footage of a North Korean military parade, to the impeccable production design of the drab KCIA offices and the dreadful torture chamber in Namsan, to Michael Staudacher's majestic music score, there is very little from the production end that can be called sloppy or indifferent.
Greatly aided by these overachieving staff members, newcomer director Kim Hyeon-jeong does a fine job of orchestrating the potentially unwieldy plot mechanisms and diverse elements of the globe-spanning production into a coherent whole. The supporting cast provides an able support as well.
Song Jae-ho, who starred in the two top hit films of s, Young-ja's Heyday , Winter Woman : Cheon Ho-jin as the elite, dandy KCIA honcho is full of venom under the surface of a mellow, reasonable father figure.
More like a major Hollywood production starring Harrison Ford than a generic Korean film, Double Agent is too polished to be an art film, too serious-minded to be a fun picture. Whatever it may lose in entertainment value, however, it gains back in respect.
I hope to see more political thrillers like Double Agent in the future, not necessarily about North-South relations, but about all aspects of the recent history of the Korean peninsula. There are so many compelling stories yet to be told on the silver screen.
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