Long Road Student Reviews: The Yellow Sea











Out of all the words in the dictionary it would be hard to describe this movie in just one. If there was
a word for intense, brutal, bloody, violent, heart-racing, mind-blowing, THE YELLOW SEA would most
certainly be described as said word.

Korean made, THE YELLOW SEA explores the extraordinary story of a desperate, in-debt cab driver from Yanji City in four mystical, twisting and deceiving chapters. When the cab driver is offered the chance to clear his debt the movie turns from a sombre tone to a dark, chilling adventure, which is reflected beautifully in the score. Every on-screen emotion is translated through the sound, so much
so to the extent that we begin to feel engrossed in the story, especially combined with the perfect shot selection for each scene. Hong-jin Na, the director, has divinely captured the raw attitude of the Korean gangsters, corruption and the society it destroys.

THE YELLOW SEA has the ability to draw the whole audience into the film, whether the viewer speaks fluent Korean or has to read the subtitles, the message and experience is still exactly the same. It’s important to watch this movie for what it is: a gritty, blunt, and somewhathilarious albeit extremely gory and twisted insight into the world of underground Korea. It would be difficult to try and say a bad word about Hong-jin Na’s masterpiece. It would also be a total lie. THE YELLOW SEA is fantastic.

Jack McCurdy


THE YELLOW SEA is a Korean crime-thriller by Na Hong-jin, a South Korean film director who you might also know for his previous film, The Chaser. The story follows a Yanbian taxi driver Ku-Nam, who suffers from a gambling addiction, as well as owing a lot of money to the wrong people and suspecting that his wife, who recently left for South Korea to send money home, is being unfaithful. As his debt becomes too much for him, he is approached by underworld crime boss Myung-Ga and tasked to kill a man in South Korea, in exchange for $10.000. However, as events in South Korea unfold while Ku-Nam performs his task and searches for his wife, more and more are drawn into Ku-Nam’s mess including the police, South Korean Mafia and the Chinese Mafia.

Does the film work? The film performs well as a thriller; the cinematography only complements the fantastic dialogue and gritty action scenes including car chases, knife fights and dismemberment. This truly incredible blood bath of a film leaves you on the edge of your seat for its entire two and a half running time, and makes sure you leave the cinema with only positive things to say. However, THE YELLOW SEA does contain flaws like any other film of its kind. It attempts to jump several hurdles at once, by including horrifying violence as well as typical thriller conventions. The film can become overwhelming, often displaying very graphic violence and towards the end, becoming a little side-tracked with the car chases and knife fights.

How would I rate this film? Despite the repetitive violence towards the end, the film’s narrative was solid and was a fantastically entertaining thriller. Na Hong-jin has created a very powerful film, and one I would recommend to most: 8/10.

James Doughty

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