FILM REVIEWS: N-Z

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Director: Kim Ki-duk 
Genre: Drama 

The tale of a North Korean fisherman who floats into the South and is at the mercy of a new form of state control  

 

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Director: Lee Chang-dong

Genre: Romance-Drama

The story of an impossible romance, a powerful piece of breath-taking filmmaking which carves a permanent etch

 

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Director:  Bong Joon-ho

Genre: Drama-Comedy

Bong Joon-ho’s dark satire exposes Korea’s class divide and serves up a peerless cinematic masterpiece   

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Director:  Yeon Sang-ho 

Genre:  Action-Horror

 

Train to Busan follow-up is a thrilling zombie-fest of sprawling action, but its emotional intensity does not rise from the dead  

 

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DirectorKim Ki-duk 

Genre: Drama

Kim Ki-duk's strange and brutal mediation on the absences of a motherly figure set in the desperate backstreets of Seoul  

 

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Director: Lee Chang-dong

Genre: Drama

A melancholic meditation on aging and death, a grandmother with Alzheimer's struggles against her fading memory

 

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Director:  Im Chan-sang

Genre: Comedy-Drama

Funny, surprising and poignant, Song Kang-ho excels as the naive barber in a politically unstable Korea  

 

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Director: Kwon Cheol-hwi

Genre: Horror

A gore-filled take on the vengeful ghost trope, a wife returns from the grave to terrorise the maid who took her family 

 

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Director: Kim Yong-gyun 

Genre: Horror

Atmospheric and stylish horror uses the cursed item trope
to deliver a tale of morality
and revenge  

 

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Director: Kong Su-chang

Genre: Horror-War 

Dread-filled and exquisitely shot, the horrors of war provide the backdrop as a platoon march in a supernatural threat  

 

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Director:  Son Jae-gon 

Genre:  Comedy

 

Low-brow slapstick comedy provides some guilt pleasure, but lacks overall coherence to stick its landing  

 

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Director: Yeon Sang-ho

Genre: Horror-Animated

Animated horror provides high-action drama but in a sea of ravaging zombies the uninfected are the true monsters

 

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Director: Park Kwang-su

Genre: Drama

A bleak but powerful biopic of the 22-year old who ended his life through self-immolation protesting for workers’ rights 

 

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Director: Song Il-gon

Genre: Mystery-Horror

A mysterious film on the power of the subconscious that leaves the minds of the characters and audience equally disorientated  

 

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Director:  Yoon Jong-bin 

Genre: Spy drama 

Slick spy thriller offers tension-filled view of North-South nuclear tensions during
the 1990s

 

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Director: Ko Young-nam

Genre: Horror-Thriller

K-Horror classic twists the malicious housemaid format and brilliantly portrays a wife's decent into paranoid madness

 

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Director: Jeong Jae-eun

Genre: Drama

A coming-of-age film where a group of young women see their friendship fracture amid festering economic anxiety

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon 

Genre: Horror-Drama 

An atmospheric, psychological horror which offers a subtle and dread-building reimagining of an often-told Korean folktale  

 

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Director:  Park Chan-wook

Genre: Drama-Horror

Park Chan-wook's twisted vampire love story is a multi-faceted view of religion, lust
and consequence  

 

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Director: Shin Sang-ok

Genre: Supernatural horror

 

Korean folktale imagined in a melodramatic horror where supernatural forces drive a savage revenge mission   

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Director:  Yoon Sung-hyun

Genre:  Crime-Drama

 

Heist movie turned Cosmopolitan Western shootout forges high tension as a set of likeable cons scramble for survival   

 

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Director: Yeon Sang-ho 

Genre: Action-Horror

Rapid-hunt zombies terrorise desperate train passengers in an action-horror mash-up filled with social commentary

 

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Directors: Oh Sung-yoon & Lee Chun-baek

Genre: Animated-Family

Stray dogs join forces and embark on a cross-country adventure in a scenic animated tale of freedom 

 

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DirectorNa Hong-jin 

Genre: Supernatural horror

Na Hong-jin’s supernatural horror charts superstition and evil in rural Korea as it builds to a chilling climax 

 

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Director: Bae Jong

Genre: Drama-Comedy

Hilarious yet meaningful, soldiers from the North and South stumble into a secluded village during the Korean war

 

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Director: Bae Yong-kyun

Genre: Drama

A meditation on Zen principles, Bae Yong-kyun frames the beauty of the wilderness in the search for human meaning 

 

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Director: Kim Ki-young 

Genre: Drama

Brimming with stunningly shot surrealism, a madcap tale which descends into fear-filled views of death, disease and resurrection  

 

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Director: Na Hong-jin

Genre: Thriller-Action

An ultra-violent thriller, a desperate Korean taxi driver living in China returns home on a murder mission

 

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Director: Lee Myung-se 

Genre: Action-Crime 

An over-stylised action crime outing that still provides thrills as an obsessive detective chases an elusive killer 

 

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Director: Park Chan-wook

Genre: Action-Thriller

A masterpiece of stylised action and a visceral stomach-churn
of ultra-violence that leaves
you utterly breathless 

 

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Director:  Bong Joon-ho

Genre: Drama-Comedy

Bong's masterpiece gets a monochrome makeover which accentuates the film’s bleak shades of class divide 

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Director: Lee Chang-dong

Genre:  Drama

 

A reverse chronology plunge into the defining life events of a desperately broken man  

 

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Director: Kim Gwang-tae

Genre: Horror-Thriller 

A dark fairytale reimagining where deceit fuels revenge when a father and son happen upon a village after the Korean War 

 

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Director: Lee Yong-ju

Genre: Horror-Mystery

This claustrophobic horror turns down the gory and amplifies the chills as mystery grows around a missing teenager 

 

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Director: Im Sang-soo

Genre: Drama-Comedy

The demise of a lecherous, authoritarian president in Director Im’s stylish and controversial political satire

 

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Director: Kim Jee-woon

Genre: Black comedy

Dark comedy servers up hilarity and horror with a killer cast
and crew of future Korean cinema stars 

 

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Director: Hong Sang-soo 

Genre: Drama 

An intriguing examination of the fate of a potential couple’s romantic liaison over the course of a few soju-soaked hours 

 

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Director: Jang Joon-hwan 

Genre: Comedy-Sci-fi

Often disturbing, regularly hilarious and always beautifully crafted, a young man tries to stop an alien invasion  

 

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Director: Im Kwon-taek

Genre: Drama-Musical 

A melancholy tale about traditional musical storytelling Pansori and a family tortured by their father’s obsession 

 

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Director: Kang Je-gyu

Genre: Action-Thriller

Korea’s first ever big budget blockbuster is a star-studded North vs South high-octane action thriller 

 

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Director: Yoon Jong-chan

Genre: Horror-Mystery

The popular Korean domain of the apartment block provides the atmosphere of horror in this slow-burn mystery

 

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DirectorKim Ki-duk

Genre: Drama

Tranquil beauty combines with a lingering sense of doom in a portrait of human nature and the consequences of actions    

 

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Director: Park Chan-wook

Genre: Thriller

Park Chan-wook’s first English-language feature is a gorgeous and mesmerising gothic tale with coming-of-age confusion  

 

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Director: Park Chan-wook

Genre: Thriller

The first of the Vengeance Trilogy sees anti-heroes and villains chasing desperate paydays or bloody revenge  

 

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Director: Hong Sang-soo  

Genre: Drama-Romance

A metafiction on cinema and filmmaking, his sixth film has Hong at his self-deprecating
and anxiety-filled best 

 

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Director: Jang Hoon

Genre: Drama

A cabbie becomes the reluctant hero of the 1980s Gwangju Uprising in a heartfelt and impassioned real-life story

 

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Director: Lee Yoon-ki

Genre: Drama

An absorbing portrayal of a forbearing post office worker and the reasons for her self-imposed societal isolation

 

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Director: Lee Joon-ik

Genre: Period-Drama

Lusciously shot and superbly,
an unwilling heir to the throne clashes with his ruthlessly demanding King father

 

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Director: Ji-hoon Kim

Genre: Disaster

A high-end apartment complex is engulfed in flames on Christmas Eve and its residents scramble for survival 

 

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Director: Park Chan-wook 

Genre: Drama-Comedy

Black comedy, vengeful characters and wild rushes of violence, Trio is imperfect but has signature Director Park style

 

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Director: Jeong Byeong-Gil 

Genre: Action-Thriller

Highly-stylised, this vivacious action thriller boasts some inexplicably brilliant set pieces and outlandish stunt work   

 

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Director: Lee Jeong-hyang

Genre: Drama

Poignant and affecting, a city brat grandson stays with his mute country grandmother and learns the value of humility 

 

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Director: Park Ki-hyung

Genre: Supernatural horror

The film which launched modern K-Horror, this is a creepy and atmospheric ghost story at a Korean high school

 

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Director: Park Hoon-jun

Genre: Mystery-Action

A tense mystery turned
blood-splattered action thriller as a young girl rediscovers her powerful former self

 

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Director: Hong Sang-soo

Genre: Drama

A brief, characteristically low-key and conversationalist look at a woman visiting friends while her husband is away

 

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