Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Front Line (Jang Hun, 2011)

Jang Hun's The Front Line liberally takes from Saving Private Ryan, but then so does every modern war movie about a past conflict (and, often, a present one). Yet despite its own occasional bumps, I much prefer Jang's more idiosyncratic yet thematically consistent vision to Spielberg's sloppy hodgepodge of tropes. It captures the particular bitterness of civil war better than just about any work of film or television made about our own, and its flashes of quintessentially Korean cinematic oddness don't detract from the impact of the final moments. And the use of the contested hill itself as a messenger system between sides as each constantly wrests control of the area from the other is one of the most ingenious commentaries on the absurdity and waste of war.

My full review is up now at Spectrum Culture.

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