The Berlin File (2013) ★★★
Country: South Korea
“When an illicit arms deal goes bad, North Korean spy Pyo Jong-seong finds himself targeted not just by the South Koreans but also his own bosses.” - Letterboxd
It covers the whole spectrum of spy movie clichés. I’m often thinking “idk what’s going on but it sounds exciting” - or rather looks exciting because the dialogue delivered in English was poorly written and plagued by its own clichés.
It was fascinating just to watch a movie with presumably so much going on - I occasionally had no idea what was going on, but it was entertaining. Very conflicted about this cliche spy movie that I very much enjoyed.
Giant (2017) ★★★½
“Having fought in the First Carlist War, Martin returns to his family farm in Gipuzkoa only to find that his younger brother, Joaquín, towers over him in height. Convinced that everyone will want to pay to see the tallest man on Earth, the siblings set out on a long trip all over Europe, during which ambition, money and fame will forever change the family’s fate. A story based on true events.” – Letterboxd
It depicts a beautifully complex relationship between two brothers. The characters and rich and we see the tangible results of their emotional journey. The story offers purpose, although fails to adequately exploit the theme.
This was a great movie worth the watch. However, I think more could have been done early in act 1 to establish Joaquin’s initial personality. His journey felt like it was missing an act 1.
The Call (2020) ★★★½
Country: South Korea
“Connected by phone in the same home but 20 years apart, a serial killer puts another woman’s past — and life — on the line to change her own fate.” – Letterboxd
This was a fantastic horror/thriller movie. There were a few small errors in story logic, but it was a fascinating concept with frequent twists, and it never felt dull. The “time-traveling phone call” idea hasn’t been fairly exploited, I’m never disappointed in the outcome. It builds a world around two characters we want to cheer for, but by the end, we’re rooting for one to kill the other.
Furioza (2021) ★★★
“A policewoman makes her ex-boyfriend an offer he can’t refuse: Either he infiltrates and informs on a gang of hooligans, or his brother goes to jail.” – Letterboxd
There was a lot lost in translation, so I feel like I didn’t fully appreciate its potential. But it was a mostly compelling watch, although I think I could’ve been nearly an hour shorter.
The action was ruthless and plentiful - great action movie. The story may have been a bit too frayed at the edges and unfocused. But there was character change and growth with a narrative arc made into a mostly captivating watch (I’d shave 20-30 minutes off this).
I do think there is a message here and that’s worth noting - the ending rounds out the theme well.
*the above is the author's own opinion and not a sponsored advertisement of affiliate content