IMDb > Silmido (2003)
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Silmido (2003) More at IMDbPro »


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Hie-jae Kim (writer)
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Release Date:
24 December 2003 (South Korea) See more »
Based on a true story of 1968 Korean Republic Army plan to assassinate North Korean president Kim Il-Sung... See more » | Add synopsis »
7 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Melodramatic almost to a fault - but intense to the end See more (17 total) »


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Directed by
Woo-Suk Kang 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Hie-jae Kim  writer

Produced by
Woo-Suk Kang .... executive producer
Jonathan Kim .... producer
Min-ho Lee .... line producer
Thomas Leong .... consulting producer
Original Music by
Jae-kwon Han 
Ji-soo Lee 
Cinematography by
Sung-Bok Kim 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Doo-hong Jung .... martial arts director
Music Department
Seung-hyun Choi .... music editor
Yeong-wook Jo .... music supervisor
Other crew
Simon Sansone .... local production coordinator

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
135 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

This movie is based on actual events. After North Korean commandos tried to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung Hee in 1968, the Southern Government set up a unit to kill North Korean President Kim Il Sung. The unit was made up of prisoners sentenced to death for various offenses. During their preparation, the South Koreans scrapped the idea; contrary to what is stated in the film, though, it is unknown what happened next, only that the unit eventually mutinied.See more »
Continuity: At the end of the film, the photo of the soldier's mother misses a piece in the upper right corner. A few moments later we see the photo again, but this time it misses a piece in the lower left corner.See more »


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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
Melodramatic almost to a fault - but intense to the end, 6 May 2005
Author: RolandCPhillips from United Kingdom

This one shouldn't be seen while feeling vulnerable.

In 1968, a group of 31 death-row prisoners were selected by the South Korean military with the intention of crafting them into a super-tough unit to slash the throat of the North's President, in retaliation for a similar attempt by the Communist government.

The endured an unspeakably gruelling training, but became the ultimate fighting unit: no past and no worries about the fate (just as long as they don't get captured). However, at the 11th Hour, the South Korean government altered policy and retracted the standing orders: no go on the mission. So the condemned men, 'Unit 684', who lived, trained and survived together were left with no purpose, and were a potential powder keg on the diplomatic level… I expect you can guess what happened next.

This movie went stellar in Korea, and given the success of films like Shiri, JSA, Taegukgi and Champion I can appreciate why. This is concerned heavily with national identity, loyalty, responsibility, duty, faith and friendship. It's also gutsy, violent and tough – so much so you might end up feeling you've trained with the men themselves. One of the strengths of Woo-Suk Kang's film is that it's engaging: you feel like you evolve with the men, that you live with them. Is this isn't brought about by any particularly subtle techniques, but by cinematic brute force. The film pummels you over the head with images of torment, crushing, bombastic Hans Zimmer-esquire music, gunfire, widescreen effects, explosions, and close-ups of bodies smashing rocks.

It's melodramatic to the bone. OTT, posturing and hard to take seriously.

But for some reason, I was moved, and impressed. Despite it's excesses and bombast, the film gets under your skin. The issues surrounding the country's responsibility to the men it sentences, then entrusts with its dirty work are raised, but not properly examined, ditched in favour of loud speeches and actors being manly. But the film's resolve to take itself absolutely seriously pays off. Despite the length and tracks of boredom that set in, director Kang's decision to milk scenes for all their worth makes you care. And you will be moved for the men.

There is also some genuine food for thought. The film lacks the scale to examine some of its more controversial issues properly, and the villains it creates are your basic dispassionate men-in-high-places-in-suits, but the betrayal wrought on the prisoners is made more complex by the changes in some superiors' characters, and by the ideas of bravery and cowardice that are briefly raised.

I find it slightly dispiriting that a Hollywood-like lack if complexity has seeped into some of South Korea's film (e.g. Shiri, Tube, Taegukgi), this is an angry dog of a film, committed to the men it depicts. I'm sure major historical liberties were taken, and for Korean cinema, sample Save The Green Planet above this, but this still an accomplishment, and a tough experience.

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Why they just couldn't escape andypsv
Execution shown in the beginning youve_changed
What is that song!!!??? mr-mbarnett
What happened to the Sergeant Jo and other surviving trainers? Loxias
is this movie artistic jobei84
What did the radio call them on the bus? joonyung90
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