EIFF Day 5 – The Berlin File

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After a great feeling from Monster University which even the rain couldn’t wash away I made my for the second film of the day. The complex action Korean thriller The Berlin File by Ryoo Seung-wan.

The Film

The first thirty minutes of the film is setting up a complex plot of mixed spy agencies involved in a botched arms deal that the South Korean agency monitors. Due to the mix of too many spies, this does require the viewer to try and focus on what is going on otherwise the remainder of the film would not go smoothly.

The action in the film is well paced though it though gets let down by a few off-angled CGI effects and Hollywood fiery explosions that don’t seem to fit the film.

There is something to be said about the film’s location, Berlin, playing a symbolic role in hopes of reunification for North and South Korea. The city was split in WWII and became a significant point of Cold War stories between East and West until its unification. Combine this with another theme of old and new where the old hands are finding their ideologies eroding by the new.

Another striking feature in the film is the use of multiple languages in it where dialogue is exchange in Korean, German, English and Russian yet when if comes to the conversation between two of the character, husband and wife, there is very little communication between them.

Overall

Rating: 3 out 5

Many themed ideas in this complex action thriller  though could lose viewer focus with too many agents.

License to…Create

There was a wonderful Q&A by Chris Fujiwara to Ryoo Seung-wan where the first question was around if the film will have a sequel given the ending with the character still going on with their lives. Ryoo Seung-wan deliberately gave the film that so that is remains with the viewer due to the way Korean cinemas work as you go in one way then exit into a shopping mall. While he thought about the idea to do a sequel he leaves it with the viewer to do their own story and this works as when I was walking back home, I played around the possibility on what the sequel would be like in my mind.

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