Movies Around The World: South Korea

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A spy thriller, a science fiction horror-mystery, and a dystopian crime thriller. Movies (& TV) Around the World – South Korea.

North Korea (officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is an isolated, impoverished enemy of its southern neighbor South Korea (Republic of Korea).

North Korea is a one-party Socialist state run by the Kim Dynasty. South Korea was governed by a series of military dictatorships until democratization in 1987.

Formerly a single nation annexed by Japan in 1910, the Korean Peninsula has been divided into North and South since the end of World War II. The Korean War ended in an armistice agreement but void of a peace treaty. Both nations claim the right to the entire peninsula, and until quite recently tensions held high.

This week, I watched two movies and a TV show made in South Korea, all skillfully toy with the history of political tensions between north and south to imagine mysterious, terrifying, and fascinating dystopian futures.

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Steel Rain (2017) ★★★½

Watched on Netflix

“Amid a coup, a North Korean agent escapes south with the country’s injured leader in an attempt to keep him alive and prevent a Korean war.” – Letterboxd

A complex political drama with action-packed mayhem.

This is worth watching for the complex but not overbearing story and intense action scenes. It also has a solid message and keeps you constantly entertained and enthralled in action.

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Illang: The Wolf Brigade (2018) ★★★½

Watched on Netflix

“In 2029, the elite police squad Illang combats a terrorist group opposing reunification of the two Koreas. But another enemy may be lurking nearby.” – Letterboxd

I really enjoyed this super long sci-fi-action-dystopian-romance movie.

I would’ve liked to see more world-building; instead, there was a lot of focus on gunfights in the sewers. But there was also a little meet-cute going on in the background of the main character’s psychological trauma unfolding at his feet.

I’d say it’s worth watching.

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The Silent Sea (2021) ★★★½

Watched on Netflix

“During a perilous 24-hour mission on the moon, space explorers try to retrieve samples from an abandoned research facility steeped in classified secrets.” – Letterboxd

The most undervalued, hidden gem of 2021 Netflix. This is a fantastic series and one of the most original stories I’ve experienced in a long time. It’s an amazing display of creativity and complexity.

My only reservation: it’s slow. At one point the ship “springs a leak” and it takes that water two episodes to seep through the walls and vents of the vessel.

So slow. And perhaps leaning towards melodrama at some points. But you can bet I binge-watched this in one sitting. Once you get into the story, there’s no getting out.

My favorite sci-fi series of recent memory. Only one season right now but hoping for a Season 2.

More Movies Around the World Next Week!

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