Korean Films You Should Have Seen By Now

Sorry for the lack of updates! The Geekiary writers have all sadly been accosted by the specter of real life. Articles might be sporadic for the next couple of weeks. But I’m going to see Neil Gaiman next week, and several of us will be reporting from San Diego Comic Con next month, so stay tuned. We have good things coming your way.

In the meantime, here’s a little something I posted on my tumblr a while back. Each of these movies deserves its own article, but this will have to do for the time being.

괴물 (The Host): A scientist pours a ton of formaldehyde down a sink (that actually happened) and a giant monster mutates in a river and emerges to terrorize the populace (that didn’t actually happen). It sounds cliche, but the way this movie brings together political commentary, social introspection, environmental consciousness, and the tale of a broken family fighting for one of its own is nothing short of spectacular. The ending loses its stride in a couple of places, but all in all this is one of my favorite movies of all time.

아저씨 (The Man from Nowhere): It’s about one man taking on both organized crime and the police at once in order to save a kidnapped little girl. But unlike most movies with this sort of premise, it doesn’t shy away from just how utterly broken the main character is. The slow reveal of his back-story is heart-wrenching, even if you managed to predict it beforehand. And it has some truly wonderful gore.

좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈 (The Good, The Bad, The Weird): Steampunk Western shoot-em-up that manages not to take itself seriously for more than a few seconds at a time. It’s just indescribable amounts of fun.

공동경비구역 (Joint Security Area): Pretty much THE movie about the demilitarized zone. There are plenty of movies about the tensions between present-day North and South Korea, but I don’t think any attain this level of depth. Saying too much would ruin it – you just have to watch it. But I will say that the incredible humanity of the movie makes the despair (and barely-there hope) of the ending all the more poignant.

태극기 휘날리며 (The Brotherhood of War): The Korean War told through the eyes of two brothers who end up on opposite sides. I’m not a huge fan of war movies, but this one captured my attention. And I’m not too proud to admit that I cried like a little baby at the ending.

장화, 홍련 (A Tale of Two Sisters): Just an incredibly awesome horror movie. You will want to watch it at least twice. Even if you manage to figure out some of the mystery, you definitely won’t figure out all of it. There are just so many twists and turns and so many early scenes set up great payoffs for later reveals. That, and it’s legitimately pants-crappingly scary.

올드보이 (Oldboy): DON’T WATCH THIS MOVIE. I’m serious. DON’T WATCH IT. Watch THIS. It’s one of the greatest combat scenes ever filmed, and it’s the only part of this movie that you need to watch. The rest of it? DON’T WATCH IT, AND IF YOU DO NOT HEED MY WARNING DON’T COME CRYING TO ME AFTER.

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