Ryu Seung-Wan’s (The City of Violence, The Unjust) new film “The Berlin File” is certainly a must see for all film fans. The movie stars some of Korea’s most talented actors, Ha Jung-Woo,(The Chaser, Nameless Gangster) Jeon Ji-Hyun,(My Sassy Girl, The Thieves) Ryu Seung-Beom,(The Servant, The Unjust) and Han Suk-Kyu(Forbidden Quest, Eye for an Eye). The film revolves around Ha Jung-Woo’s character, a North Korean spy, as his own country turns against him and he must find a way out not only for his sake, but for his wife’s as well.
The film kicks off within the first few minutes of the film and never really lets down. There are a few moments where the director allows you a minute to breathe, but there is never a dull moment. The action sequences themselves are brutal and very realistic. On several occasions, I really felt the actors were no longer acting and the pain you saw on their face was very real.
Along with the terrific action, all of the actors did a superb job of portraying their characters. Of all the actors though, I believe Ryu Seung-Beom did a slightly better job. He played another North Korean spy who was very calm, collective, and very methodical. However, once things began to deteriorate, Ryu Seung-Wan does a great job of showing the character slip from one of calm collectiveness to one of chaotic rage and leaning more on brutal force to get things done.
The film is a wonderful spy-thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. The action is raw and you can almost feel their pain. “The Berlin File” is a must see in my book and is a very easy 5 stars.
*Side-note: Even the foreign actors in the film did a great job. Several Korean films with foreign actors tend to fall flat with their acting but Ryu Seung-Wan did a wonderful job with directing his cast.