Some of the most unique, daring and beautiful films in recent memory have originated from South Korea. However, it seemed as if not enough audiences from the U.S. were taking notice of this phenomenon until Bong Joon-ho’s PARASITE became the first foreign-language feature to take home the Academy Award® for Best Picture in 2020. Among the latest movies to prove that the country is home to some of the strongest stories in modern cinema is BROKER.
From Hirokazu Kore-eda — the award-winning writer and director of 2018’s SHOPLIFTERS — comes the filmmaker’s latest story of people coming together under unlikely circumstances that also reflect pressing matters that exist in the real world today. It is a grounded, wonderfully written and beautifully acted story that has earned the honor of being named an AMC Artisan Film. See why BROKER is worth seeing when it hits AMC Theatres on December 26, 2022, in our spoiler-free breakdown.
Brings A Unique Vision And Perspective
It is very rare when a film ambitiously sets out to be a variety of different things and succeeds in its attempts to be all of them while maintaining a singular, perfectly accentuated tone and not sacrificing its own plot. BROKER, which follows a group of people hoping to sell an abandoned infant named Woo-sung on the black market to the right family and a pair of devoted detectives trying to catch them in the act, is one such film.
The film has elements of a crime thriller – both in how the entire story revolves around an illegal adoption plot and other intriguing reveals that come to light – as well as a chase movie, following our “heroes” on the road as they try to find the right family for the child at the center while the law is hot on their trail. However, at its core, BROKER is really a family drama that sees our main characters become very close-knit on their journey, and a redemption story because of the fact that everyone is seeking a way to vindicate past mistakes or move on from traumatic circumstances by doing right by Woo-sung and giving him the family he deserves and who deserve him. The key to this balancing is a refreshing and unwavering sense of realism in the genuine performances, authentic dialogue and a story rooted in truth.
Pushes Boundaries And Sparks Conversation
The inciting incident that drives the plot of BROKER sees a young woman named So-young drop her infant son, whom we soon learn is Woo-sung, outside of a baby box at a local church. After two detectives surveilling the act put the baby inside the box themselves, two men – one of whom works at the church – find the child with a note from the mother that promises she intends to come back, which leaves no chance for adoption. This prompts them to take the matter into their own hands, eventually inviting the mother along to prevent her from causing them any trouble with the law as they are unaware two cops are already onto them.
According to The Korea Times, the baby box plot element is based on a real service that exists in South Korea and was developed in 2009 by Christian pastor Lee Jong-rak to prevent unwanted infants from being abandoned in unsafe locations. Despite its well-meaning intentions, the system has inspired some controversy as a violation of the country’s adoption laws, which state a child must be officially registered for adoption by the biological mother. BROKER offers an intriguing, open-minded commentary on the subject that will likely inspire conversation among South Korean audiences and will more-than-likely raise awareness of the issue for people from other parts of the world.
Unites An Acclaimed Cast
The BROKER cast boasts some of South Korea’s most famous respected faces – especially Song Kang-ho, who plays the mastermind behind the black market adoptions service, Sang-hyeon. The actor is best-known for his frequent collaborations with Bong Joon-ho, including the aforementioned PARASITE, THE HOST and SNOWPIERCER.
As Sang-hyeon’s partner-in crime, Dong-soo, we have Song’s SECRET REUNION co-star, Gang Dong-won – who more recently starred in the TRAIN TO BUSAN sequel, PENINSULA – and in her biggest movie role to date as Woo-sung’s mother, So-young, is musician Lee Ji-eun. Bae Doona – who also previously worked with Song in THE HOST among other films, as well as English-language titles like CLOUD ATLAS and Netflix’s “Sense8”) plays Detective Soo-jin alongside Lee Joo-young – best know for the Korean TV series “The Ghost Detective” – as her partner, Lee.
Stretches Actors Outside Their Comfort Zones
Most of the BROKER cast is well-versed in the sort of dark, real-world drama and social commentary that the film masters, especially someone who has worked with Bong Joon-ho as often as Song Kang-ho has. However, for some of its stars, the film serves as a whole new experience.
The heavy and perfectly performed role of a young woman forced to give up her child is especially new territory for Lee Ji-eun , who is primarily known in South Korea as a musician performing under the stage name IU, but is also no stranger to acting as the lead of the musical comedy series, “You Are the Best!” BROKER also marks the acting debut of Im Seung-soo, who is exceptional as a young orphaned boy who becomes key to the main characters’ evolving family dynamic.
For its bold commentary on very real and divisive subject matter as depicted through a complex narrative and captivating performances, BROKER could be one of the most important films to come out of South Korea and of 2022 overall. See for yourself when this AMC Artisan Film comes to an AMC Theatres location near you!BROKER | AMC Artisan Film