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The Spy Gone North

How was a South Korean spy, codenamed ‘Black Venus’, able to ingratiate himself with the highest ranks of the DPRK, including Kim Jong-il himself?

Dir Yoon Jong-bin
Prod Han Jae-duk, Son Sang-bum
Scr Kwon Sung-hui, Yoon Jong-bin
With Hwang Jung-min, Lee Sung-min, Cho Jin-Woong
South Korea
2018
137min
UK Distribution Signature Entertainment
Subtitles

Anyone looking for a little background into the tense relationship between North and South Korea will find this enthralling spy thriller both gripping and revealing. Hwang Jung-min (star of The Wailing, LFF 2016) plays Park Suk-young, a secret service agent sent on a mission in the mid-1990s to discover the truth about the North Korean leader’s nuclear arms agenda. Park’s method is the long game: appearing to drop out of the service, becoming an alcoholic and gambler, then reinventing himself as a teetotal businessman looking at trade links between the two countries. There are more than a few shades of John le Carré in what happens next, as Park’s superbly fashioned alter ego reels in his opposition in a furtive game of cat and mouse.

Damon Wise

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