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Korean war movie set in Seoul in 1950. Jin-seok (Won Bin) and his older brother Jin-tae (Jang Dong-kun) run though the streets of their hometown, without a care in the world. They have clothes on their backs, food on the table, and a loving family. The brothers live with their mother, their much younger siblings, and Jin-tae's soon-to-be wife Young-shin (Lee Eun-joo). This tranquil existence is shattered when war breaks out. North Korea has invaded, and the family is forced to abandon their home. While making the way to safer grounds, soldiers arrive and take Jin-seok into custody. All men capable of carrying arms must report for duty. Jin-tae tries to free his brother, but he too is captured and both siblings suddenly find themselves on an army train, heading straight to the war's front line. With Southern forces failing to hold the Communist North's advance, Jin-tae organises a tight-knit group of conscripts and orchestrates a daring isolated attack. Earning the respect of the men and his superiors, with each increasingly suicidal mission, Jin-tae is promised to be awarded the Medal Of Honour that will enable him to demand Jin-seok be sent home.
A big, bruising epic of the Korean War, Tae Guk Gi or Brotherhood smashed box-office records when it played in South Korea in 2004, almost as though the country needed to re-live the trauma at a 50-year distance. For the rest of the world, this movie looks like a ground-level reckoning in a melodramatic key, with an authentic feel for battle lines as well as home front. It follows two brothers--one uneducated and forceful, the other intellectual and reserved--as they are united and then divided by the conflict. The broadly emotional story has some of the power of tales of the American Civil War, when family members found themselves on opposite sides of a battle. Director Kang Je-gyu , who made the lively female-assassin hit Shiri, takes a blunt approach to the material (including a Saving Private Ryan-style framing device). And at 150 minutes, he has plenty of time for head-splitting, blood-spraying combat. This movie is meant as a punch in the stomach, and it connects. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Framed a la Saving... by a contemporary beginning and end,Brotherhood is a broad,heartfelt and ferocious piece.Outdoing Ryan with epic combat sequences that are utter carnage the director Kang Je-Gyu(who also scripted) captures the confusion and the insanity of war with startling clarity.
Overwhelming at times and not without flaws - a contrivance too many and a final battle that is a little too like greek tragedy,Brotherhood works through it's sheer visceral nature(one scene where a crazed soldier starts shooting his own is hard to watch) and a heartfelt depiction of sibling love(both brothers are first rate).
Critcism from other quarters seems harsh to me(enjoying"world cinema" isn't just an exercise in being condescending and intellectually detatched,we all like a bit of the wonderful Alain Resnais and Jean Cocteau but not Scorcese's overblown and ponderous remake of the superb Infernal Affairs)and being manipulated emotionally for something as stirring as this seems a fair trade off to me.Anyway everyone knows that a good war movie is the male tearjerker(apologies to all ladies who enjoy war movies)
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