Korean Cinemaby ChristopherEdell | created - 28 Dec 2012 | updated - 01 Dec 2013 | Public
A list of all Korean films I have seen.
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1. Oldeuboi (2003)
R | 120 min | Action, Drama, Mystery
After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.
Votes: 406,999 | Gross: $0.71M
A bizarre story that excels in offering constant mystery and intrigue, this film contains many layers of complexity that a single viewing would leave one deprived of its beauty. Stylish and fresh, this films is one of a kind. A favorite of mine, not just in Korean cinema, but of all film in general.
2. Kim Bok-nam salinsageonui jeonmal (2010)
Not Rated | 115 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A woman subject to mental, physical, and sexual abuse on a remote island seeks a way out.
The variation from typical protagonist momentum allows this story to reach different avenues of emotional impact. A beautifully executed piece that deserves far more praise than the accolades already received.
3. I Saw the Devil (2010)
Not Rated | 142 min | Action, Drama, Horror
A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.
Votes: 83,064 | Gross: $0.13M
Dark, disturbing, violent, and a touch of sociopathic socializing peppered in to character motivations to boot. An amazing addition to Jee-woon Kim's existing directorial features.
4. Mother (2009)
R | 129 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A mother desperately searches for the killer who framed her son for a girl's horrific murder.
Votes: 32,457 | Gross: $0.55M
Hye-ja Kim's performance was fantastic. Rarely can actors portray characters so bereft and melancholic, yet exude such a beautiful grace that Hye-ja Kim has. Her performance elevated this film from marvelous story to work of art.
5. Memories of Murder (2003)
Not Rated | 132 min | Action, Crime, Drama
In a small Korean province in 1986, three detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit.
Votes: 82,304 | Gross: $0.01M
A historic piece that revolves around Korea's first serial killer case, it does an exceptional job with its cinematography, creating a wonderfully moody feature. Highly recommended.
6. The Chaser (2008)
Not Rated | 125 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
A cash-strapped pimp and former police detective draws upon the skills of his old job to track down his missing stable of prostitutes.
The central serial killer theme takes a backseat to dynamic character development and the political struggle of a Korea's weakened legal system, shooting this story's overall identity far ahead of other counterparts from the West.
7. The Host (2006)
R | 120 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
A monster emerges from Seoul's Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people. One victim's loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches.
Votes: 77,599 | Gross: $2.20M
A monster movie, with Korean cinema's uniqueness intact. A great introduction to international films for those who enjoy the creature treatment.
8. Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA (2000)
Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 ... See full summary »
Although definitely a flawed film, the 2nd Act was wonderfully executed, and is what lingers with you well after viewing. It begins as if it's going to be your typical military action flick, but quickly changes into a more humanistic piece, with humor, joy and sadness mixed in with great impact. For any Chan-Wook fan it's a must see considering it was his first major feature.
9. 3-Iron (2004)
R | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
A transient young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents' lives for a few days.
Votes: 42,071 | Gross: $0.24M
Despite having a bizarre 3rd Act, which I've read lends to a for more metaphorical interpretation, the film achieves a certain charm that is original and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. The fact that the two major character are never seen speaking (with two exceptions on one character's part) the movie has a rare elegance and uniquely conveys a sense of romance.
10. Geon-chook-hak-gae-ron (2012)
118 min | Drama, Romance
35-year-old architect Seung-Min receives a visit at his office from a woman. Seung-Min doesn't recognize the woman at first, but then realizes the woman is Seo-Yeon. Seo-Yeon is his first ... See full summary »
Love stories are frequently lost on me, but there are some which sneak through the emotional cracks. Personally, they must go beyond the boy/girl archetypes to offer unique circumstances and well thought out character development. This film did exactly that.
11. In-lyu-myeol-mang-bo-go-seo (2012)
Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
The First Chapter of The Anthology Film- In A Brave New World, a mysterious virus brings the city to ruins and zombies flood the streets of Seoul. The Chapter 2, The Heavenly Creature, a ... See full summary »
12. My Sassy Girl (2001)
Not Rated | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Based on a series of true stories posted by Ho-sik Kim on the Internet describing his relationship with his girlfriend. These were later transformed into a best-selling book and the movie ... See full summary »
Despite its seemingly common plot-line, this variation on the theme is well complimented by the Korean structure. The acting left something to be desired in the humor department (when compared to American counterparts), but fortunately the story's originality shines through and makes it a fun watch.
13. Castaway on the Moon (2009)
116 min | Drama, Romance
A failed suicide attempt leads a heartbroken man to live a life in the wilderness.
Votes: 12,580 | Gross: $3.73M
I have an urge for black bean noodles.
14. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
R | 129 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' friend's daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant.
Votes: 51,353 | Gross: $0.05M
The first installment of Chan-Wook's Vengeance trilogy, now overshadowed by it's successor, Oldboy. Heavily criticized for its extreme violence upon release, it's now considered an important film that shows that Chan-Wook's intent (as seen with his later films) was far more complex than at first glance.
15. Lady Vengeance (2005)
R | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
After a thirteen-year imprisonment for the kidnap and murder of a six-year-old boy, Guem-Ja Lee seeks vengeance on the man truly responsible for the boy's death. With the help of fellow ... See full summary »
Votes: 59,429 | Gross: $0.21M
Although weakened in rating when compared to its predecessor, Oldboy, standing alone it is still a well thought out film adhering to the vengeance motif. Chan-Wook continues to impress.
16. Sseo-ni (2011)
124 min | Comedy, Drama
Seven girls become good friends in high school, then events pull them apart for 25 years. When one of the friends lies dying in a hospital, she wishes to see each of them one last time.
A fun, girl-power character study that definitely has its comedic moments.
17. I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006)
Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A girl who thinks she is a combat cyborg checks into a mental hospital, where she encounters other psychotics. Eventually, she falls for a man who thinks he can steal people's souls.
19. Hansel and Gretel (2007)
TV-14 | 117 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
After meeting an mysterious girl on an dark stretch of road, a young salesman is invited to a beautiful house with bizarre secrets and no way to escape.
21. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
R | 103 min | Drama, Romance
A boy is raised by a Buddhist monk on an isolated floating temple where the years pass like the seasons.
Votes: 67,332 | Gross: $2.38M
Despite having beautiful cinematography, the subject matter makes it a difficult recommendation. With the plot being a glimpse into the life of a monk, each chapter separated by many years in the attempt to show the seasons of the monk's life from child to old man, the slowness and minimal dialog bring the film to an act of meditation itself.
22. A Bittersweet Life (2005)
120 min | Action, Drama
Things go wrong for a high ranking mobster when he doesn't proceed by his boss's orders.
An homage to American gangster films, with Scorsese references scattered throughout. If you're a fan of gang-related action flicks, this will certainly be enjoyable. But, if you're looking for an original story and great character development, continue your search.
23. The Man from Nowhere (2010)
R | 119 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.
Votes: 49,564 | Gross: $0.01M
A fun film, although nowhere near as complex in character or storyline when compared to many of the other stellar Korean films abound.
24. Thirst (2009)
R | 133 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Through a failed medical experiment, a priest is stricken with vampirism and is forced to abandon his ascetic ways.
Votes: 34,432 | Gross: $0.30M
An interesting take on the vampire tale. I desperately wanted Chan-wook Park to reinvent the mythology, but felt that it was just another instance in the endless surplus of the genre. Regardless, Chan-wook Park does a good job as always.
27. A Moment to Remember (2004)
117 min | Drama, Romance
A Korean love story about a young couple's enduring love, which is tested when 27 year old Sun-jin is diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease.
Everything below this point are unseen films on my TODO list.
32. Do-ga-ni (2011)
125 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Based on real events, this film depicts the story of a school for the hearing-impaired where young deaf students were sexually assaulted by the faculty members over a long period of time.
34. Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom (2008)
R | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
The story of two outlaws and a bounty hunter in 1940s Manchuria and their rivalry to possess a treasure map while being pursued by the Japanese army and Chinese bandits.
Votes: 28,681 | Gross: $0.13M
36. Nae yeojachingureul sogae habnida (2004)
123 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
The heart-warming romance story between Kyungjin and Myungwoo. Even though he has passed away, he will be always with Kyungwoo forever.
39. Swiri (1999)
R | 125 min | Action, Crime, Drama
South Korean agents Ryu and Lee are tracking a female assassin from North Korea who has mysteriously disappeared. With new killings and the theft of a deadly bomb, time is running out to catch her.
Votes: 7,270 | Gross: $0.10M
41. Geoul sokeuro (2003)
Not Rated | 113 min | Action, Crime, Fantasy
An ex-cop, now working as a security guard in a shopping mall, tries to uncover the secret behind a series of mysterious deaths linked to mirrors.
42. Yeon-ga-si (2012)
Not Rated | 109 min | Drama, Thriller
Jae-hyuk is an ordinary man in his 40s. He works as a medical supplies salesman and is hassled by doctors all day. His brother Jae-pil is a detective that is not all that interested in ... See full summary »
43. Gabal (2005)
106 min | Drama, Horror
In Seoul, Su-Hyeon is terminal with leukemia, and bald due the treatment of chemotherapy. Her sister Ji-Hyeon buys a long-haired wig, but she does not disclose the truth about Su-Hyeon's ... See full summary »