For fans of Korean films, the new action thriller The Berlin File is definitely not to be missed.
Written and directed by the talented Ryu Seung-wan with a dynamite cast comprising of Ha Jung-woo, Han Suk-kyu, Ryu Seung-beom and Jeon Ji-hyun, Berlin File makes for an extremely riveting two-hours.
A beautifully crafted, fast-paced, intense movie with a fiery, touching finale, Berlin File was more proof that my commitment to Korean films was not misplaced.
A complex spy thriller set in, of course, Berlin, The Berlin File is packed with multiple layers of deceit, betrayal, corruption, espionage, duty and love beautifully woven into the film.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has died and his son Kim Jong-un is the new supreme leader of the country.
In this uncertain period of shifting loyalties, changing political alignments and suspicion of the old guard, a colorful hodgepodge including Russian arms dealers, the CIA, Mossad, North Korean and South Korean spies and the Arabs vie for advantage.
Ha Jung-woo (of Yellow Sea and Chaser fame) plays a ruthless North Korean spy Pyo Jong-seong stationed in Berlin, a key European spy station previously involved in stashing away billions of dollars of the late Kim Jong-il’s ill-gotten wealth.
Whether as the maniacal sadistic killer in Chaser or the out-of-his-depth cabbie in Yellow Sea, Ha Jung-woo is a volcano demonstrating a gushing lava of talent.
Ha Jung-woo is no less impressive in the Berlin File, as he furiously battles multiple enemies while maintaining a steadfast commitment to his country and its all-powerful Communist party in the face of tremendous odds and constant treachery.
Nothing is as they appear to Pyo Jong-seong, not even his wife Ryeon Jung-hee.
Betrayal is an omnipresent threat.
The divinely beautiful Jeon Ji-hyun, the saucy star of the charming 2001 Korean romantic super-blockbuster My Sassy Girl, has a short but important role as Ryeon Jung-hee, wife of the North Korean spy.
Jeon Ji-hyun is not only drop-dead gorgeous but a remarkable actress.
Her soulful looks and fine performance melted and sent SI into paroxysms of delight.
Ryu Seung-beom (brother of director Ryu Seung-wan) is amazing as Dong Myung-soo, the cold-blooded, calculating, maniacal North Korean rival of Pyo Jong-seong.
A virtuoso performance so amazing that you actually begin to loath Dong Myung-soo by the end of the movie!
Han Suk-kyu plays the South Korean spy Jung Jin-soo relentlessly on the trail of his deadly North Korean foe Ha Jung-woo with great elan.
Folks, The Berlin File is not a Bourne or Double O’7 film with a monomaniacal focus on a single, souped up character flaunting fancy gadgets.
The Korean film is a much richer, more luscious spy thriller given its many characters and layers.
The writing is top-notch and the action scenes choreographed beautifully.
Reportedly made on a budget of $9 million (big by South Korean standards but chump change in Hollywood), The Berline File marks another triumph for the Korean film industry.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a gazillion times. South Koreans know the art of making movies and they’re getting better every year. Not like the Indian chutiyas, where (almost) every movie is worse than the previous one.
SearchIndia.com heartily recommends The Berlin File to all lovers of high octane spy thrillers.
The Berlin File (with English subtitles) is playing in select theaters in the U.S. including at AMC 25 in Times Square NYC.