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Korean Movie Recommendations

Submitted by Druss on Mon, 2012-04-30 22:40

In the last couple of decades, the South Korean film industry has been consistently delivering some excellent movies. I've watched quite a few and here is a loosely ordered list.

Oldboy (2003)

Based on a Japanese manga, this movie is a part of Park Chan-wook's "Vengeance trilogy" (there is, however, no plot link between any of the three movies) and is a violent revenge flick. The violence is not random action and everything is made clear at the end.

Bin-jip / 3-Iron (2004)

Every now and then, standard romantic fare is re-imagined and delivered with a fresh perspective and a unique plot setting. Bin-jip, directed by Kim Ki-duk, is one of them and left me smiling for days.

Chinjeolhan geumjassi / Lady Vengeance (2005)

Often referred to as "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance", this is another standalone instalment from Park Chan-wook's "Vengeance trilogy". As with most revenge flicks, this one has a lot of violence and is recommended for its excellent plot and largely solid acting.

Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom / Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)

A movie centring around Buddhist philosophical concepts of the cyclical nature of things and other such views on life. The story is presented well, but it is the atmosphere and the setting that is singularly stunning. This film is another that has been directed by Kim Ki-duk.

Yeopgijeogin geunyeo / My Sassy Girl (2001)

A heart-warming "rom-com" that is genuinely funny and ... heart-warming.

Madeo / Mother (2009)

A story about a poor mother's fight to exonerate her mentally challenged son of a murder charge. Things however are a lot more complicated than expected. An excellent murder mystery directed by Bong Joon-ho which as many Korean movies do, leaves you thinking back and analysing the story for days on end.

Salinui chueok / Memories of Murder (2003)

Based on a true story, the film revolves around a serial killer running loose in a small town. Two local cops attempt to solve it their own way while another agent from Seoul prefers a different approach leading to a clash of egos and personalities. A riveting watch!

A good number of these movies have very likely been remade into Hollywood drivel. Stay away from them or ensure that you want the originals first and then watch the remakes in order to point and laugh in derision.