JSA: Joint Security Area

JSA: Joint Security Area: focuses on the investigation after a fatal shooting at the highly sensitive North/South Korean border. The police-procedural investigation element is done very well, and as the story unfolds you’re drying to find out what really happened. It also does a good job of explaining the tensions between North & South Korea and most interestingly – shows a neutral account from both sides. The two main solders are outstanding Byung-Hun / Kang-ho; I couldn’t recommend both their filmographies enough. From Park Chan Wook, this is a sensational international debut, well-shot, showing a master craftsman in the youth of his career. The final shot is phenomenal, smart and pretty unforgettable. I’m glad this was made with ‘global’ in mind, aiding its travel and success – some English dialogue and title cards etc. The sleeping on the job / army bromance goes a little too far, but other than that, the film is a great drama piece, with characters that you fully invest in. Perhaps it’s that we only get the best released in the UK, but I genuinely believe that South Korea has some of the best talent in the film industry both in front of – and behind – the camera, and this is a great example.

Score: 7.5/10

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2 comments
  1. Good write up of a smart movie that should be a bit better known.

    Like

  2. Andrew said:

    JSA kind of acts like a blueprint for the proclivities Park displays in his later filmography, which I think is where it holds the most value. That said it’s also a really underrated movie that I think has been criminally (if understandably) overlooked in discussions of his oeuvre, and I think one of the better anti-war movies of its decade to boot.

    Like

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