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Praise is also due to the veteran Park Young-gyu (Attack the Gas Station), who plays the video salesman and appears as the presenter in the video segments themselves.
Instead, the film works best when Ryoo focuses on the intolerable paranoia and distrust that poison and undermine the integrity of North Korean characters.
Although not technically Korean films, these works are of great interest to many fans of Korean cinema, so we will be providing a separate page (coming soon) for reviews of these and other "not quite Korean" films. It appears that someone in the North Korean embassy has been selling secrets and is now preparing to defect to the South.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2013, the one massive project on the horizon is Bong Joon-ho's SF epic Snowpiercer, expected to reach theaters in August. Pyo begins to suspect his estranged wife Ryeon Jeong-hee (Jeon Ji-hyun, a.k.a. Meanwhile the Northern headquarters is sending Dong Myung-soo (Ryoo Seung-beom, Perfect Number), a sadistic interrogator and cold-blooded assassin, to clean up the mess.
Rather than paying lip services to the "Northerners are human beings too" rhetoric of ethnic reconciliation, the film addresses the fact that the Cold War ideology still survives in North Korea precisely because it serves the interests of the top-of-the-food-chain jackals like Dong (and his clan, the paterfamilias of which is played by Myung Gye-nam in an amusing cameo), who continued to fatten themselves at the expense of ordinary working stiffs like Pyo and Ryeon.
As Dong sneers at one point, "People always change," even if the ideology remains unchanged.
Go featuring a CG animated gorilla, from the director of 200 Pound Beauty and Take Off. As the film opens, North Korean intelligence officer Pyo Jong-seong (Ha Jung-woo, Yellow Sea, The Terror Live) is negotiating an arms deal with a band of Middle Eastern terrorists. Many domestic viewers compared the film to the Jason Bourne series, but despite a few superficial concession to the latter's fragmentary style, The Berlin File is a throwback to the "serious" espionage thrillers of '60s and '70s, films such as The Quiller Memorandum (1966, also set in Berlin and written by Harold Pinter), A Dandy in Aspic (1968) and Three Days of Condor (1975).