Starring: Song Kang Ho as Lee Han-gyu, Kang Dong Won as Ji Won, Jeon Kuk-Hwan as Shadow, Park Hyuk-Kwon as Ko Kyung-Nam and Choi Jung-Woo as National Intelligence Deputy
Rating: R, for violence
Running Time: 116 min
Twinkies: 4 stars
Six years ago a mysterious shooting takes place in Seoul. The after effects of the shooting results in Han-kyu Lee losing his job at the NIS (National Intelligence Service). Six years later, Ji-won Song, an ex North Korean spy. now operates somewhere in the Seoul metropolitan area. As these two men hide their identities and work their particular angles, trouble brews again.
Musings: Let me preface my review with the fact that Jang Hun, the Director, is responsible for 2 of my favorite movies this month! Vastly underutilized by the Korean film industry! Casting these two together was sheer genius! Song Kang Ho’s Han-gyu was totally an unsympathetic character, most of the time. Kang Dong Won’s Ji Won was brilliantly acted.
This movie really portrayed the evolution of a friendship. A friendship between two vastly different people under different circumstances. Ji Won was the North Korean spy who because of a decision by his counterpart to betray him and the man they call ‘Shadow’ while Han-gyu is the former NIS agent who is fired after taking responsibility for a botched arrest of an North Korean operative. What starts out as a hunt for the man called Shadow, turns into a story of survival. Ji Won is desperately trying to get his wife and child out of North Korea using a South Korean rescue group and at the same time, he is trying to avoid capture by NIS as well as being killed by Shadow.
Jeon Kuk-Hwan’s Shadow was scary, scary, SCARY!! At the beginning when he killed that family and didn’t blink an eye, even I yelped out loud at that scene
I always complain how Kang Dong Won should do dramas; however, when I see him in movies like this, it reminds me how much more brilliant an actor he is. Song Kang Ho is in a class by himself. I’ve lost count of the number of movies I’ve seen him in which the acting by him was superb! Unfortunately, most of his movies will probably never be reviewed here because of their content but don’t forget The Good, The Bad, The Weird!!
Yes, folks. This movie is definitely not for everyone as it contains violence. But when you look away from the violence, what you see is a very well acted and filmed movie. And if the ending doesn’t have you smiling like an idiot, I don’t know what will!
Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie is available on several sites. Ask me if your interested. Also available on Netflix if you are a subscriber.
Best Director – 2010 (30th) Critics Choice Awards
Best Actor (Kang Dong-Won) – 2010 (30th) Critics Choice Awards
Best Film – 2010 (31th) Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best Cinematography – 2010 (31th) Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best Screenplay – 2010 (46th) PaekSang Arts Awards
I’m available on Twitter. Thanks to all of you Twinkles out here who are taking the time to read! If you have a suggestion for a future review, just leave me a comment! I’m always happy to have movie suggestions.