Sonntag, 5. Mai 2013

Short takes

The central conceit of the Korean thriller "화차 (Helpless)" is nothing new and the awkwardly dramatized finale is a misfire both in execution and plot-wise, but the two hours leading up to it are fast-paced, tension-packed, unexpectedly suspenseful and sprinkled with some quality scares, in other words, a relentlessly fun ride. Director Byun Young-joo shows great timing and composes scenes that impress with striking visual design and smothering emotional urgency.

Agents from North & South Korea, the CIA and the Mossad blast their ways through the German capital in writer-director Ryoo Seung-Wan's spy actioner "베를린 (The Berlin File)". The story shows ambition but bit off more than it can chew with the plot surrounding the inner-Korean political intrigue failing to live up to its promise. In all, unspectacular but serviceable entertainment thanks largely to solid camera work, production design and the imposing backdrop of Berlin.

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