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 remaining rounds in the assassin's magazine, amount to 16 cartridges for a gun that should normally hold 15. The investigating Swiss/Swedish team from the neutral countries overseeing the DMZ suspects that another, unknown party was involved - all of which points to some sort of cover up. The truth is much simpler and much more tragic.Written by
serious cinephile <email@example.com>
During the course of the movie when the South Korean soldiers salute their superiors they say (phonetically) 'TUN-GIL!' This is Korean for 'UNITE!' It is used in the South Korean military (mostly army) because - even though the North wishes to reunify under the Communist rule, while the South desires it under democratic rule - the hopes and goals on both sides are for reunification. See more »
The moment before Sgt. Lee shoots Sgt. Oh in the shoulder you can clearly see the squib device underneath his uniform. See more »
Chan-wook Park's most politically-charged film tackles the very volatile tension that exists between the North and South Koreans.
Chan-wook Park's most politically-charged film tackles the very volatile tension that exists between the North and South Koreans. This could have easily been propagandistic in nature, with this South Korean film portraying the Northerners as mere caricatures of Communistic ideals, but instead the film happily sidesteps this and portrays both the North Koreans and South Koreans as kinsmen.
In the beginning of the picture, both sides have a skewed view of one another, seeing each through the lens of their political temperament - the border between the two thus is interpreted as a wall that filters and jades each one's perspective. However, once that that wall is finally crossed, the two sides realize that no wall really exists, and they begin to see each other as human beings - The soldiers first call one another "enemies", but soon they are calling one another "brothers".
The characters are richly drawn and dynamic to reflect this - each are humans, with their own unique demeanor, and that their national identity is nothing more than a facade. While the soldiers are alone, away from their government infrastructures, both sides cling to one another in fellowship as they find themselves all the same. Only when the absent governmental element is reintroduced are the soldiers forced to revert back behind their facades, and tragedy results.
A powerfully moving and keenly intelligent analysis of the confusing political situation between the two opposing governmental systems. Despite being slightly marred by a few lapses into melodrama and overstatement, that can not take away from its piercing effectiveness.
The highest recommendation possible.
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