Wednesday, February 13, 2013
THE BERLIN FILE sounds a little le Carré-ish, that's fine because it is, but better. (John le Carré's books, and most of the the movies made from them are intelligent and well-plotted but, with the exception of the recent Tinker,Tailor... rather slow-moving.) This film barrels ahead at such a pace that you'll barely keep up, relishing every fast-moving moment, lingering over nothing. Not, at least, until the finale, set in a field of golden wheat in which the sight of one of our heroes and the load he carries on his back may break your heart.
Ryoo Seung-wan, left, who directed and wrote the Korean dialog (the English dialog, surprise, was written by a fellow I actually know and respect, Ted Geoghagen). Mr Ryoo has been around now for some 15 years and in that time has directed ten films. Though this is the first I've seen, it's good enough to make me want to view the rest.
Ha Jung-woo, above, right) and wife (Gianna Jun, above, left), North Korean spies, based in Berlin, who come under suspicion of being traitors to the cause. The why and how of this does not come fully clear until more than halfway along, which makes the movie all the more interesting for our not really knowing for who we should be rooting.
Han Suk-kyu, above) rabidly hates the North and what it stands for: "A political deal with Commies? I don't even make left turns at intersections!" is how he puts it. (It's good to know the cold war is still alive and well.)
Ryoo Seung-beom (above) makes a wily, creepy and very smart nemesis -- the kind of fellow for whom torture was invented (oh, no -- did I just say that?).
CJ Enter-tainment, and as much fun as you're likely to find at the movies this month (maybe this year) opens Friday, February 15: in the New York City area at the AMC's Empire 25 and Bay Terrace; in New Jersey AMC Ridgefield Park, and Philadelphia at AMC Plymouth Meeting. It will also open simultaneously in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Honolulu -- with more locations yet to come. You can view all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters by clicking here.