The Berlin File: movie review

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Gianna Jun and Ha Jung-woo in The Berlin File

Where better to stage a tense standoff between a North Korean national hero (Ha Jung-woo) and his pregnant wife (Gianna Jun), a South Korean intelligence operative (Han Suk-kyu) and a ruthless Communist fixer (Ryu Seung-beom) than Germany’s former epicenter of Cold War espionage? Filmmaker Ryoo Seung-wan (Crying Fist) has distinguished himself as a creator of slick, Hollywood-lite blockbusters full of quick cuts and itchy trigger-fingers. he’s more comfortable with choreographing carnage than maintaining a cloak-and-dagger narrative, which makes everything here, except the action scenes, feel sluggish and rote. Though the director includes a few brief humdingers—a fight that involves a Rube Goldberg–ish tangle of wires; some munitions-fueled mayhem in a farmhouse—it’s not enough to keep viewers from wishing they were thumbing through a John le Carré novel instead.

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Release details

Release date: Friday February 15 2013
Duration: 120 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ryoo Seung-Wan
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