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Brotherhood, or Tae Guk Gi in its native Korean tongue, is a 2004 film from Kang Je-gyu (who directed Shiri).
It follows two South Korean brothers who are conscripted into the army following the outbreak of war with North Korea. Jin-tae Lee has always tried to protect his studious younger brother Jin-seok, so when he is told by a superior officer that if he earns the highest medal awarded to a South Korean soldier he can get Jin-seok discharged from the army that is what he sets out to do. Jin-tae begins taking risks in the battlefield but with impressive results and quickly elevates his profile and rank. As the motivation for these actions is unknown to Jin-seok he believes his older brother is doing it to gain attention and a resentment is forms. Later, tradegy strikes for the brothers' family and circumstances result in each brother fighting on separate sides during the war - will the brothers ever see one and other again?
I've really skipped over a great deal of the story in the outline above. This is a fantastic film which conveys the connection brothers have, either those bound by blood or those formed on the battlefield. This is epic film making - the hustle and bustle of Seoul in 1950 at the start of the film is captured brilliantly, showing the vibrancy of a more innocent time and then there are the brutal battle scenes which match anything produced by Hollywood in recent years. The only let down for me in that regard is one scene involving an aerial assault where the ambition reaches further than the special effects do. There is also time between battles to get to know other members of the brothers' battalion and this lends a humanity to the film. Even though the film is 2 hours 28 minutes long it doesn't feel over long, we come to care about the characters and at no point does it become boring.
This is also an incredibly emotional film. Some could say that certain scenes are melodramatic but they worked for me in the context of the film as a whole. The actors playing the brothers give great performances, in particular Won Bin as the younger Lee, and if certain scenes between them don't leave you feeling a little choked up then you are made of stronger stuff than I am!
A war film with epic scope, it also has a lot of heart. On par with any recent war film from the west.
Taegukgi begins with an old man receiving word about about some remains wrongly identified as his own at a memorial site due to be set up. He believes they may be those of his brother and thus visits the site. Whilst there he tells his family the tale of how he and his brother became involved in the army.
In Seoul in 1950, Jin-seok's education is paid for by his brother, Jin-tae's shoe shine shop. War breaks out between South Korea and North Korea and the brothers are forced to join the army. Jin-tae takes on dangerous missions with the aim of being given the reward of sending Jin-seok home. Jin-seok has no idea why his brother is taking these missions and thus assumes he is doing so for glory.
Taegukgi is impressive despite being a little predictable. The strain upon both soldiers and civilians during war is well portrayed. The plight of the soldiers against the enemy and the brothers' friends and family ensure the audience connects with the main characters. The visuals are impressive, the acting by Won Bin, Lee Eun-ju and Jang Dong-gun is convincing and the script is clearly well written.
You don't have to be a fan of war films to enjoy Taegukgi. It's as much about human connections in difficult times as it is about war.
Posted on Ciao.
After studying the Korean War as part of my A Level History I thought I'd give Brotherhood (Taegukgi) a go. Oh my word, what a decision!
Released in South Korea in 2004, it shows the effects the Korean War has on a family, more specifically two brothers, played by Won Bin and Jang Dong-Gun. One is working full time whilst one is being educated, yet both are eventually conscripted to fight off the Communist invaders. Over time we see the brothers lose touch with their family life and eventually end up on opposite sides. I won't go in to the story line too much as I don't want to go give away the entire story, as I dislike it when people do that to me! However, I must say I can fight back tears to chickflicks but the end of this had me reaching for the tissues, and I'm a teenage boy!
I can't proclaim to knowing much about Korean cinema, but it comes as no surprise to me this is one of their most successful ever films. It would be in any country! A budget of $12.8million to produce creates some of the most brutal yet stunning battle scenes I've witnessed and 148 minutes of sorrow at the destruction the Korean War bought to the region. It was nominated for a fair amount of awards in Asian ceremonies, including Best Director at some, so it shows how highly rated this is. I'd rank it as my favourite war film of all time due to it's beautifully negative portrayal and touching personal storyline that somehow comfortably reflects the whole nation. Despite the director being South Korean he reflects upon both sidesin the war with equal horror, there is little to no favour in how the South behaved.
The film is obviously in Korean, but the subtitles are easy to follow and don't detract your eyes from the scenes.
Thanks for reading, I highly recommend this film!
oh what can i say about this amazing film,
This is the best film ive ever seen !
its a war film about 2 brothers who are forced into fighting in the koreon war and how one trys everything he can to keep his brother safe so he may return to he's family.
This film has everything it has a brilliant story, the movie is epic on grand scale likesaving private ryan but so much better.
the scenes of war and effects and cameras everything is brilliant.
the acting from the cast is just perfect .
this has so much going for it that its tragedy that not many people know of it. if ths was a hollywood movie it would be classed as thebest movie ever winnign awards etc etc, but its a koreon movie with koreon actors with english subtitles.
dont let the subtitles put you off seriously if you watch this it wont matter a bit because its that good.
there are some sad moments and the ending is just lovely , you may need some tissues for some parts. also you will need to divert your eyes a bit as there is some gory and horific scences of war. this movie has action, a brilliant story, a heart and deserves to be seen by the many.rather than the few.
This is one movie i bought to own and will always keep. the best film ive ever seen and i dont watch movies with subtitles so that should say a lot.