JSA: Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA)

Critics Consensus

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77%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 13

91%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,530
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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)

  • Jun 15, 2012
    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 C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2012
    Complex drama with an engaging structure. The humanist message is what makes it worth it.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 30, 2011
    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 V Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2010
    Korean political thriller about a handful of Korean solders on both sides of the north-south border. Meticulously made, coering such big subjects as loyalty and patriotism and with the current state of Korea, still topical ten years on. It sounds dry and worthy but it isn't. It's a murder mystery with a lot of charm in the unravelling and a truly poignant ending just as the final credits roll. A great watch
    Lesley N Super Reviewer

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