FILM REVIEWS: A-M

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Director: Park Chul-soo  

Genre: Drama-Thriller

Two obsessive compulsive neighbours collide over their opposing food manias in this gripping psychological thriller 

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon

Genre: Thriller-Action

 

Tense espionage thriller set in 1920s occupied Korea as a resistance movement attempts to destabilise Japanese rule

 

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Director: Cho Il-hyung  

Genre:  Thriller-Horror

 

Self-isolating from a killer infection, this zombie thriller is
a topical 2020 offering that provides easy entertainment

 

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Director:  Lim Sun-ae

Genre: Drama

Tackling the often-ignored topic of the sexual abuse of the elderly, this is a subtle yet powerful film

 

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Director: Bong Joon-ho  

Genre: Comedy-Drama

Director Bong's superb debut is a black comedy which blends slapstick with distressed dogs to produce a quirky social satire 

 

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Director: Jang Cheol-soo

Genre: Thriller

A mesmerising Seo Young-hee performance elevates this bloody revenge tale set on a claustrophobic, remote island 

 

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Director: Lee Yong-min

Genre: Horror-Thriller

Face-licking, cat-transforming weirdness, this B-movie-like horror is brimming with body count and nightmarish tones 

 

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Director: Lee Chang-dong 

Genre: Drama-Thriller

Lee Chang-dong adds thriller elements to his slow-burn character studies, producing something truly breathtaking  

 

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Director: Lee Hae-jun 

Genre: Comedy-Drama

A man becomes a castaway on a deserted island in this hilarious, touching and stunning off-beat masterpiece  

 

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Director: Hur Jin-ho 

Genre: Romance-Drama 

A jovial photographer receives a terminal diagnosis and tries to contain his agitation at this fate as a new romance blossoms 

 

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Director: Kwon Oh-kwang

Genre: Black comedy

The bizarre but tender story of a man turning into a fish after a clinical trial mishap and his fight for acceptance and peace

 

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Director: Ryoo Seung-wan  

Genre: Drama 

Unique and superbly performed, a split narrative boxing tale which provides true emotional punch 

 

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Director: Noh Young-seok

Genre: Comedy-Drama

Charming and hilarious, a lovelorn young man embarks on a disastrous seaside break filled with insobriety and loneliness

 

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Director: Woo Min-ho 

Genre: Crime-Drama 

The brilliance of Song Kang-ho holds together a familiar tale
of the rise and fall of a 1970s drug lord 

 

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Director: Kim Tae-yong

Genre: Drama

An emotionally charged triptych, as families and couples clash featuring hot-headed brothers, and flighty mothers

 

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Director: Lee Hyung-gon

Genre: Comedy-Musical

Korean folktale usually ripe for horror is given an oddball musical comedy makeover as a family of foxes hunt humans  

 

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DirectorLee Won-tae 

Genre: Action-Thriller

This stylish serial killer hunt combines the best of the crime genre to deliver a gripping, if slightly formulaic, encounter   

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon 

Genre: Western-Action

A fistful of riotous fun, action-filled Western sees bandits and army forces pursue a treasure map and its loot in the 1930s

 

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Director: Kim Mi-jo

Genre: Drama

A market trader becomes the victim of sexual abuse as her family and colleagues struggle to support her

 

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Director: Lee Su-jin

Genre: Drama 

Empathy-inducing retelling of an infamous real-life sex crime, powerfully illustrating victim mistreatment and blame culture

 

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Director:  Jang Yu-jeong

Genre:  Comedy

 

A familiar set-up just about  delivers enough laughs as a lying politician turns compulsory truth-teller as election day looms  

 

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Director: Bong Joon-ho

Genre: Horror-Action

Bong Joon-ho's monster movie is a rip-roaring horror-action-comedy mash-up with plenty of social commentary bite  

 

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Director: Im Sang-soo 

Genre: Drama 

This stylish retelling of Kim
Ki-young's classic focuses on
the structures of power and
the privilege of Korea’s wealthy 

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon

Genre: Action–Sci-fi

Stylish and filled with kinetic action, a government special unit hunts a rebel group in the near-future

 

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Director: Bong Joon-ho

Genre: Drama-Comedy

Director Bong’s short film is a social satire using a trio of tales to highlight the moral hypocrisy of powerful men

 

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Director:  Lee Han 

Genre: Drama

Emotionally charged courtroom drama comes alive with two outstanding lead performances 

 

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Director: Yeon Sang-ho 

Genre: Animated-Drama

Bleak, angry and utterly uncompromising, an animated view of toxic hierarchical high schools in South Korea

 

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Director: Park Chan-wook

Genre: Thriller

The final Vengeance Trilogy film amplifies the stylised violence as a wrongly convicted woman hunts the true perpetrator

 

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Director:  Shin Su-won 

Genre:  Drama

 

Savage corporate demands
and the desperation of Korea’s youth to succeed colour
this cautionary tale  

 

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DirectorHan Hyung-mo 

Genre: Romantic melodrama

This melodrama charts a wife’s taste of independence during
the backdrop of the increasing 
Westernisation of Korea
 

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Director:  Woo Min-ho

Genre:  Political drama

 

The 1979 assassination of President Park gets a dramatic retelling featuring a star turn by Lee Byung-hun 

 

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DirectorHa Gil-jong 

Genre:  Comedy-Drama

 

Youthful gaiety gives way to existential angst in this coming-of-age classic set during Korea’s military dictatorship  

 

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Director:  Bong Joon-ho

Genre: Crime drama

Bong Joon-ho's first masterpiece is a rural crime mystery about the obsession of the detectives and their fear of failure   

 

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Director:  Min Byung-Woo

Genre:  Documentary

 

Genuine and hilarious tale of a filmmaker's recently retired father fulfilling a life-long dream as a street artist in Paris 

 

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Director: Bong Joon-ho 

Genre: Crime-Thriller 

A murder mystery complicated by the monomaniacal love of a tenacious mother in Bong Joon-ho's masterpiece thriller 

 

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DirectorKim Tae-yoon 

Genre: Comedy

 

A silly, but occasionally fun, slapstick caper that blends Dr. Dolittle with a crime-solving buddy movie   

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Director: Kim Ui-seok  

Genre: Mystery-Drama

Grim but powerful, a schoolgirl disappears in a suspected suicide and misgivings tilt towards her classmates’ role

 

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Director: Hur Jin-ho

Genre: Romance-Drama

 

A tender film, a man and woman meet in the hospital and discover their critically injured partners are having an affair

 

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Director:  Yu Hyun-mok

Genre: Drama

The desperation of post-war Korea seen through the eyes of two brothers trapped in a powder keg of bleakness  

 

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Director: Kim Sang-jin 

Genre: Crime-Comedy

Hammy and daft but so much fun it does not matter, a quartet of bored goons decide they will rob a gas station 

 

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Director:  Kim Yong Hoon

Genre:  Crime-Drama

 

Desperate schemers see their lives intertwined by a large bag of cash in a promising directorial debut   

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon 

Genre: Crime-Drama

A stylish revenge thriller about honour and tragedy featuring a pulsating lead performance from Lee Byung-hun 

 

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Director: Son Seung-hyun

Genre: Action-Crime

 

Conveyor-belt action-crime caper
is a passable, if not particularly original, way to spend 80 minutes for fans of the genre

 

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Director:  Lee Chung-hyun

Genre:  Thriller

 

Horror-imbued thriller is anchored by blistered lead performances, as fates vacillate when a phone connects the past and future

 

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Director: Na Hong-jin 

Genre: Thriller

Dark, nihilistic and often exasperating, a pimp races to find a missing call-girl taken in by a monstrous serial killer  

 

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Director:  Kim Kwang-bin

Genre:  Supernatural horror

 

A jump scare-inducing closet and a cohort of creepy children embolden this emotional supernatural horror   

 

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Director: Lee Jeong-beom  

Genre: Drama-Crime

A gangster flick turned family drama as a small-time city crook heads to the country to avenge the death of his boss

 

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Director: Hong Sang-soo

Genre: Drama

Hong Sang-soo’s debut feature
is a pithy story of fidelity and fulfilment told across four vexed and disillusioned characters 

 

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Director: Lee Man-hee  

Genre: Thriller-Horror

An eerie view of greed, guilt and lust as a doctor takes drastic measures to silence his pregnant mistress 

 

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Directors: The Jung Brothers

Genre: Horror

This gorgeous and intelligent horror creepily weaves a trio of tales around notions of love, loss and death at a 1940s hospital

 

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Director: Jang Hang-jun

Genre: Mystery-Thriller

A thriller that provides a twisting tale of desperation and loss as mysterious events plague an anxious student

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon 

Genre: Comedy-Drama

A much-maligned, failing banker finds meaning in the wrestling ring in this smartly shot comedy with plenty of heart 

 

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Director: Im Kwon-taek 

Genre: Crime-Drama

A feast of fist-fights as a homeless scrapper rises to the top of a gang as local Korean-Japanese tensions rise

 

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Director:  July Jung

Genre: Drama

This low-budget, big issue tackling directorial debut takes on child abuse and homophobia with superb lead performances 

 

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Director:  Park Chan-wook

Genre: Drama

 

Smart, sexy, stylish and surprising, a period masterpiece on a con-job gone awry    

 

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Director: Yim Pil-sung 

Genre: Fantasy-Horror 

This visually stunning horror flips its fairy tale origins to produce a more surprising traverse into the wood

 

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Director: Lee Joon-ik 

Genre: Drama

Harrowing and immeasurably powerful, an horrific attack brings a disjointed family together  

 

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Director: Kim Ki-young  

Genre: Horror-Thriller

Kim Ki-young's masterpiece on morality and lust remains a filmmaking tour de force of festering threat

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon

Genre: Action-Thriller

 

Revenge is served repeatedly in this unflinching tale of an intelligence agent’s relentless pursuit of a sadistic serial killer

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Director:  Park Chan-wook

Genre: Romantic comedy

 

Offbeat mental hospital rom-com gives Director Park an ideal palette to paint another stylish and bizarre cult classic  

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Director: Bong Joon-ho

Genre: Drama-Comedy

Experimental filmmaking from Bong as CCTV footage depicts the spiralling crime spree of a man over several years

 

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Director: Park Chan-wook 

Genre: Thriller

A touching buddy movie hidden in a military thriller as an incident on the North-South border threatens to spark a war

 

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Director: Koo Ji-hyun

Genre:  Drama

 

A bleak and often difficult watch that does succeed in showing the very real angst of toxic family relationships 

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon

Genre: Action

A throwback to 80s action films offers car chase revved entertainment despite a smorgasbord of bad acting

 

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Director: Kim Cho-hee

Genre: Drama

Tender and funny, a film producer meanders through the aftermath of her director’s death in this affable debut

 

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Director: Lee Jeong-beom

Genre: Action-Thriller

A tense and raw action thriller which stacks the revenge narrative with heart and emotional punch

 

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DirectorLee Jang-ho

Genre: Drama

 

A visually stunning meditation on grief and its ability to follow us anywhere, as a widower travels to his dead wife’s home

 

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Directors: Kim Tae-yong & Min Kyu-dong

Genre: Supernatural horror

Whispering Corridors sequel surpasses its original with a more stylish and refined return to this high school ghost story 

 

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DirectorKim Hong-Sun 

Genre: Horror

Promising possession and exorcism set-up fizzles out into more tepid low-scare affair      

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Director: Park Chan-wook 

Genre: Crime-Romance

Park Chan-wook’s debut feature film is a soft jazz scored romantic drama with flickers of his flare but none of the thrills
 

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Director: Yoon Dan-bi

Genre: Drama

A subtle drama brimming with realistic interactions as a grandfather’s house becomes
the new family home

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MADAME FREEDOM
(1956)
THE WAILING
(2016)

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