JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA) (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA) (2000)

JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA) Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Riding the trend of Korean action blockbusters after the phenomenally popular Swiri, Park Chan Wook directs this murder mystery thriller about death on the DMZ. The film opens with a shooting along the heavy militarized border between North and South Korea, which leaves a North Korean soldier (Shin Ha- Kyun) dead and a South Korean soldier injured. Hoping to reduce the potentially explosive political fallout by solving the crime quickly, both countries agree to an investigator of Korean-Swiss descent named Sophie Jean (Lee Yeong-Ae). As she methodically sifts through the evidence, Sophie learns that the testimony of two other soldiers -- North Korean Oh Kyeong Pil (Song Kang-Ho) and South Korean Lee Soo Hyeok (Lee Byung-Hun) -- are completely contradictory. Another witness (Kim Tae-Woo) tries to commit suicide rather than divulge information. Sophie soon concludes that a group of guards from the North and South, after years of eyeing each other, started meeting in the North Korean guard house to chat, fawn over porn, and to play cards. Why this informal détente dissolved into bloodshed is a thornier question. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Seong-san Jeong, Hyeon-seok Kim
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 30, 2002
Asian Crush


Song Kang-ho
as Sgt. Oh Kyeong-pil
Lee Yeong-ae
as Sophie Jean
Byung-hun Lee
as Lee Soo Hyeok
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA)

Critic Reviews for JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA)

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

I can't be as enthusiastic.

June 15, 2005
New York Post
Top Critic

Park Chan-Wook's Joint Security Area is a fairly straightforward whodunit with a pointedly political theme and an unapologetically humanist message.

Full Review… | June 15, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Park's film reveals its double agency by swinging between emotion-charged flashbacks of weepie male bonding and the investigative longueurs of the icy, half-Korean, half-Swedish female officer in charge of mopping up the brotherly bloodbath.

Full Review… | June 14, 2005
Village Voice
Top Critic

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 26, 2005
AV Club
Top Critic

Park tries to make us believe that the men soldiers on both sides would have no trouble bonding if ideologies and uniforms didn't get in the way of things.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA)

When two North Korean soldiers are killed in a shooting incident in the demilitarized zone of the border between the North and South, an independent investigator is called in to prevent it from becoming a full-blown international incident. Without wanting to give too much away, Chan Wook Park's story of unofficial detente is a classy "hands across the border" tale which shows how it is lot harder to make enemies of people than just drawing a line on a map. The politics of the situation almost come in for some ridicule in this warm-hearted but tragic tale that shows how mutual distrust and hate-breeding propaganda can lead to nothing but death and misery for all involved. The investigation itself is actually the least interesting part of the film, coming across as a little dry and contrived and the performances by the English speaking cast are easily the least engaging, but the flashbacks that show the truth behind the events that unfolded are handled brilliantly. Park hasn't quite perfected his trademark style yet, but all the night time scenes are really nicely shot and there is a lot of humour and pathos in the relationship between these soldiers who find they have far more in common than the politicians would have them believe. Not perfect, but it's lacking in the kind of saccharine and flag waving you'd expect from Hollywood and makes for a compelling thriller with a very human message.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A heartbreaking, poignant anti-war film that works best if you don't look into the plot too much, as to avoid the sometimes awkward plotting.

Kevin Cookman
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer

Kind of hard to believe that this is Park Chan-Wook. While an engaging film, it is a bit overly sentimental in parts. I understand that subject matter dealing with the reunification of a country torn in two would be replete with emotion, but some scenes felt like they were created for a TV movie on Korea's own Lifetime network. None the less, it is still an engaging who done it and an interesting glimpse into the psyche of a nation divided.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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