Over at Korea Pop Wars, reporter Mark Russell has a posting on the Top 10 Korean movies of the past decade. Considering Mark’s significant background on reporting on Korean cinema this is definitely a list to take seriously. On the other hand my list of the Top 10 Korean movies of the decade may not have Mark’s solid credentials behind them, but I hope everyone finds the list of interest anyway.
1. Memories of Murder (2003) – The best movie of the decade I am in total agreement with Mark Russell, which is Memories of Murder. This isn’t just a great Korean movie, but one of the best crime movies I have ever seen.
2. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) – The beautiful Lee Young-ae stars in this movie as a woman falsely imprisoned for murder who long plots her revenge from prison against the person that framed her. The plot, characters, and acting in this movie I found to be excellent.
3. The Way Home (2003) – This movie about a modern spoiled boy left to live with his elderly mute grandma is rural Korea really shows on film the differences between modern and old Korea, but how these differences can be overcome though love and understanding. A really touching movie that probably no ajumma can resist crying after watching.
4. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003) – This Buddhist fable told by the changing of the seasons seperated by the passing of many years is beautifully shot in the mountains of rural Korea and supported by excellent acting and an engaging story .
5. Old Boy (2004) – Another great revenge thriller by director Park Chan-wook that is ultra-violent, disturbing, and fun to watch all at the same time.
6. Silmido (2003) – This action movie with a totally unbelievable plot really grips viewers simply because it is based off the true story of the secret ROK military commandoes that revolt and fight there way through the streets of Seoul to kill South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee.
7. Chunhyang (2000) – This is a period drama that was masterfully filmed by master director Im Kwan-taek by switching from a talented pansori performance to the live acting to tell the classic Korean tale of the beautiful and loyal Chunhyang.
8. Marathon (2005) -Touching story about a autistic boy with a love for running as well as a loving mother that always believes in him despite his learning disability.
9. The President’s Last Bang (2005) – This movie was highly controversial when it was released due to its political overtones, but after watching it I was left wondering what all the fuss was about? For a movie that theatrically shows the last hours of former South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee’s life, I was taken by surprise by the dark humor and great storyline that made this movie highly entertaining.
10. Taeguki (2004) – This one makes the list for being the best Korean War film out there in a category of films that is admitedly quite weak.
For those wondering my all-time favorite Korean movie is The Taebak Mountains (1994) with honorable mentions going to Attack the Gas Station (1999), Sopyonje (1993), and Shiri (1999). Did I overlook a movie that should have been in the Top 10? Well let me know in the comments section.
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