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Joint Security Area
Joint Security Area
Actors: Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee, Kang-ho Song, Tae-woo Kim, Ha-kyun Shin
Director: Chan-wook Park
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
NR     2002     1hr 50min


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Movie Details

Actors: Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee, Kang-ho Song, Tae-woo Kim, Ha-kyun Shin
Director: Chan-wook Park
Creators: Sung-Bok Kim, Chan-wook Park, Sang-Beom Kim, Eun Soo Lee, Hyeon-seok Kim, Mu-yeong Lee, Sang-yeon Park, Seong-san Jeong
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Crime, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Tai Seng
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/30/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 50min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, Korean
Subtitles: Chinese, English
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Movie Reviews

Toe The Line
Edward Lee | 06/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One incredible tightly-woven story drives this political thriller of friends and enemies along the Joint Security Area (JSA) between North and South Korea.An apparent exchange of hostilities leaves two soldiers of the North Korean Army dead. Another is wounded, and a fourth soldier -- a South Korean soldier -- appears to be the hero ... but is he? As both sides refuse to allow an investigation to prove anything conclusive, a Neutral Nations officer -- a woman -- is brought in to uncover the truth ... but will she?Being perfectly honest, I purchased JSA solely on the basis of the recommendation of, and I have to say that I wasn't disappointed in the least. Comparisons to SHIRI are very off-base in that -- politics aside -- SHIRI is a great formula action film from start to finish ... but JSA is a pure political thriller. It is a 'thinking man's action film' where the action is a result of the plot and not because of the character's motivations (with one notable exception I won't give away to spoil the surprise). However, this film's script keeps you guessing and even delivers tremendous surprise up until the very last frame!Again, JSA is not intended for fans of the John Woo mentality (and I'm a huge fan of Woo's work). This is a drama -- which deservedly won many at the Korean Film Awards -- but certainly stands up to most American films easily. In fact, I would have to say that I never saw what all of the excitement was about MYSTIC RIVER -- a rather conventional crime drama -- but there's plenty to get excited about in JSA.I'll be watching this one again this weekend."
Perfect representation of Korean tragedy
Will | Seoul, Korea | 10/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Those who study, or have lived in, Korea will appreciate the dynamism and importance of this impeccably made film. Outside of a passing awareness most Americans have no idea what the split nations of south and north Korea mean. This film captures, in a slowly building awareness, the true tragedy and heart break that is the modern Korean nation: one racially, ethnically and culturally monolithic people harshly divided in two with one the last vestige of a dead socioeconomic theory (communism) and the other a raging Asian Tiger and the world's 11th largest economy. While the north has clearly lost this last stand off of the Cold War, the nations remain divided and JSA does a superb job of bringing this into the human dimension. Note the subtle jabs at the US as well as the neutral nations. This gives Americans a view into a world most do not understand, but one that could consume our military in a flash. Not to be missed."
paula quincey | ANJEONG-RI, SOUTH KOREA | 04/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Living in South Korea gives you a chance to get some idea of the heart breaking reality of this divided country. As Americans we have no concept of how it must feel to be in this situation. To see this film is to get a "taste" of the reality. To feel the horrible pain and taste the tears -- friends gained only to be lost to bloodshed!! I cannot even imagine what it must be like to see this film as a Korean. I have many Korean friends here in this beautiful country I now call my home(for the next few years). After seeing this, I feel differently than I did before seeing it. I feel like I have grown as a human after the experience watching JSA has given me. I think everyone living in Korea certainly should see this film. It wouldnt hurt all Americans to see it to understand how a country divided hurts the soul. Excellent film."
A love letter from the South to the North
Tintin | Boston, USA | 07/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the movie that lent me a first peek into the collective consciousness of the South Korean people. It is a love letter from the South to the North. Given the fact it set box office record when it opened in Korea, I conclude most Koreans subscribe to the movie's sentiments, and that makes them a loving, tolerant and sensible people in my mind.

If one's to draw analogy between this and other movies, "Dr. Strangelove" and "The Americanization of Emily" come to mind. All three carried similar messages: War is absurd; in a paranoid and hostile world, reason, intellect and humanity are no match for some lunatics or brain-washed zealots. (BTW, I think Americanization of Emily should've ended with the Omaha Beach landing scene.) All three are extremely apt in driving their powerful messages home. Of the three, JSA is the most aesthetically pleasing and emotionally intimate. It portrays the preciousness of life and friendship so beautifully, and death and destruction so relentlessly, that the audiences have no choice but to be affected.

It is not perfect. The English language scenes are weak as some earlier reviews indicated, but they are brief and don't affect the flow and mood of the film.

Definitely not to be missed and destined to be a classic."