Sunday, June 29, 2014

Movie Review: The Front Line (Gojijeon)

The Front Line (Gojijeon)
Director: Hun Jang
Starring: Shin Ha-kyun, Ko Soo, Lee Je-Hoon, Ryu Seung-Soo, Ko Chang-Seok, Lee David, Ryoo Seung-Yong, Kim Ok-Vin, Cho Jin-Woong 
Showbox/ Mediaplex and TPS Company, South Korea, 2011.


In the final days of Korean war negotiations about ceasefire are on the way. The battle of Aerok Hill will decide the location of the future border line. Lieutenant Kang Un-Pyo (Shin Ha-kyun, also known for JSA and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) is sent to front line as an undercover agent. Kang must investigate the murder of an officer and find a possible North Korean mole. However at the front line the military discipline is low and soldiers are wearing enemy uniforms to keep warm.
South Koreans attacking Aerok Hill
In the early days of the war Kang's friend Kim Soo-hyeok (Ko Soo) was captured by North Korean soldiers. However Kang is surprised when Kim turns out to be alive and has turned into ruthless warrior.
Kang and Kim after battle

In the hill bunker is also a mail box where North Koreans leave booze as reward for delivering mail to their relatives in South Korea. South Koreans leave also chocolate and cigarettes in the mail box. Kang has to see the graying of moral values in the war. He also learns about the hardships his company has gone through.
North Korean soldiers

Aerok Hill is captured consecutively by both parties. The troops are battling for an area that has become a mass grave. The reinforcements from Chinese army seem to tip the balance in North Korea's favour. Also the North Koreans have a deadly sniper called "Two seconds". The defense of the hill becomes the last stand battle for the South Korean soldiers.
The beginning of the last battle

Compared to recent Korean war films Taegugki (2004) and Pohwasogeuro (2010) the movie does not share the same ferocity of the action scenes but focuses more on the psychological stress war causes on soldiers. The movie contrasts the war damaged Kim and Kang who is trying to keep his moral values. The soldiers on both sides have forgotten the reason why they fight.
North and South sharing the last smoke together
 Rating: Very good

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your interest! (All comments are moderated before publishing so please be patient!)

Recommendations by Engageya