Logical, wistful, na´ve
J. A. Eyon | Seattle - USA | 04/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A highly-logical and well-laid-out Cold-War whodunnit (there's still a Cold-War on the Korean Pennisula) with in-depth characterizations in the way the Koreans like... well... except for the stereotypical militarists who are the real villains of the story. There are some good actors -- especially the small group at the center of the story (special mention should go to the charismatic Song Kang-Ho [Memories of Murder] as the North Korean sargent). And, as is typical with Korean films, nice color photography but this time with a lot of tricky night scenes.
Also pleasing to watch is the stunningly beautiful Lee Young-Ae as the half-Korean Swiss officer heading the Swedish-Swiss investigation of the killings at a North Korean guardhouse by a South Korean soldier. Her character comes across as smart and determined. And she makes Korean sound like the most beautiful language in the world.
For the other Swiss-Swedish team members, I was relieved that they imported genuine European actors -- as opposed to using amateurs.
Like other South Korean films I've seen, this exhibits a wistfulness for renunification despite the ongoing tension. The outlook behind the story may be naïve (ie, 'it's simple distrust that divides us' -- whereas an insightful story would analyze the history, politics and personalities behind the situation) but the story itself will probably work whatever your perspective."