With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE SUSPECT is available today

Well Go USA Entertainment
The Suspect / Yong-eui-ja
Directed by WON Shin-yeon
South Korea, 2013, 138 minutes
SLP: $24.98

South Korean spy action-thriller The Suspect becomes available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital today, July 22, 2014 from Well Go USA Entertainment. This review is based on my watching the Blu-ray version.

JI Dong-chul, played by rising South Korean star GONG Yoo (Silenced, 2011), is a defector from North Korea who works as a hired driver for Chairman Park. His employer is the CEO of a powerful corporation and is deeply involved in North-South relations. When Park is murdered just before an important visit to Pyongyang, Dong-chul is the chief suspect.

Given a pair of glasses by Park just before he died, Dong-chul is a man-on-the-run who not only must save himself but also discover what is so important about the glasses. His situation is complicated by the fact that he is a former North Korean agent, one of the elite few who completed training at Ryonggang Base west of Pyongyang. He's also seeking to find who murdered his wife and daughter.

Further complicating the situation are several characters. KIM Suk-ho of the NSIA (National Security Intelligence Agency, South Korea's equivalent of the U.S.'s CIA) is in overall charge of effort to capture Dong-chul. Colonel MIN Se-hun, South Korea's best counter-intelligence officer, is specifically tasked with capturing Dong-chul. And CHOI Kyung-hee is a female documentary filmmaker who's doing a piece on North Korean defectors; Dong-chul is one of her subjects.

As one might expect, there are lots of back-stories, back-stabbings, and various forms of betrayals at work. Director WON (A Bloody Aria, 2006) does a fine job of keeping maintaining excitement, moving things along, and keeping the story sufficiently coherent.

Near the end, I thought the film was heading for a conclusion almost identical to that of The Berlin File, but that did not prove to be the case.

All-in-all, The Suspect is a well-made and welcome addition to the large number of South Korean spy film action-thrillers.

Disc extras are limited to the film's trailer and those of other Well Go USA releases.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; solidly recommended.