JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA)

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Reviews Counted: 13

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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 4/5

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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, Rovi

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

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3)

  • I can't be as enthusiastic.

    Jun 15, 2005 | Rating: 2/4
  • Park Chan-Wook's Joint Security Area is a fairly straightforward whodunit with a pointedly political theme and an unapologetically humanist message.

    Jun 15, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • 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.

    Jun 14, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Park Chan-wook presents the general atmosphere and the depiction of the conditions in one of the most unstable areas in the world with realism, but without failing to entertain in equal proportion, particularly through some comedic moments

    Apr 6, 2019 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 25, 2007 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • Além do impecável senso estético de Park e de seu imenso talento para a narrativa, o filme traz uma bela mensagem humanitária e anti-bélica.

    May 7, 2006 | Rating: 5/5

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
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
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

What kills this movie is the Dubbed Voices. After rewatching it with English Subtitles and Korean Language, I found it to be more enjoyable and realistic. About 2 sets of soldiers one from each side of the Korean Border ( North and South Korea) who are station at and out post, god forsaken duty that would drive the best man nuts, but these four form a bond, until discovered. Which sets the stage for murder and suspense. A great story. 4 Stars

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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