Thursday, July 5, 2012

Movie Review - JSA – The Koreans know how to make Movies!

Name of the movie – Joint Security Area (JSA)
Language – Korean
Genre – Drama
Year of Release – 2000
Running Time – 108 minutes

The July of 2007 was a turning point to Korean Cinema with the release of the now world famous movie – My Sassy Girl. It was then that the world realized that the Korean movie industry is exceptionally brilliant – especially South Korean. Since then, there has been a large portion of world population, even Indians who have dedicated their lives to finding the best of Korean movies. Joint Security Area or JSA is one such exceptionally brilliant movie. It was the highest grossing film in Korean film history at the time and won Best Film at the 2000 Blue Dragon Awards and the 2001 Grand Bell Awards.

A shot from the movie in which all main characters
are together. Source: Google Images

Joint Security Area is the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the borders of North and South Korea are always at war. The movie begins with gun-fire being exchanged at night – a South Korean soldier, apparently shot, is seen limping back from North Korea to South Korea. Two North Korean soldiers are dead and one wounded. What follows is a special investigation by Swedish and Swiss investigators from the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission to find out the truth of what happened on that fateful night.

What unfolds is a beautiful story of friendship and humanity. A story so simple that it belittles the grandeur associated with pride, honour, and war, but does not question patriotism. All that the movie focuses on is how simple and uncomplicated the human mind is.

Fantastic acting by Lee Byung-hun (of A Bittersweet Life fame) and Song Kang-ho (of Memories of Murder fame) gives the movie the soul none other could have given it. Lee Young Ae – who plays the role of the special investigation officer Major Sophie E. Jean has handled her part, though small, brilliantly!

My favourite part of the Movie - The scene where the South Korean Sgt. Lee Soo-hyeok accidentally steps on a landmine and cries like a baby in front of North Koreans Sgt. O Kyǒng-p'il and Pvt. Chǒng U-jin to help him is hilarious. Though it does get you thinking when this small act forges an unbelievably strong friendship among 2 sets of people who are enemies by birth, not by choice!

My Verdict - If you love watching foreign language movies, this is a must-watch! If you have not seen any Korean movies before, this is a great one to start with! At the end of the movie, the movie succeeds in reassuring our faith in love and friendship despite all the hatred and pain that surrounds us every day!


  1. Woo glad to find someone who likes Korean films as much as I do:) Great review and keep up the good work. I haven't watched JSA yet but have managed to watch some other Korean films.

    Here, check out my site and share your feedback sometime -

    1. There are lots of Korean-movie-crazy people out there like us! And JSA is a definite must-watch! Please do let me know if you enjoyed it :)

      Will visit your site soon! Thanks again for the comment, buddy!

  2. Nice review. I'm not aware of this korean film but based from this review, i think its a great film to watch.

    1. Thank You. It is indeed a very nice movie - do try it and let me know :)



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