CrimeReads' Korean Noir: A Guide to the Classics

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"South Korean cinema is a wild, confounding hydra. There is the art house fare winning accolades at international festivals; the steady flow of mainstream, industry-approved movies filling theaters; and the boundless riches of a genre cinema that never ceases to astound. Of course, these types of movies most assuredly overlap as well. South Korean crime films, in particular, are an arsenic-laced delight. Expect investigations proceeding on rainslick streets at night; elaborately choreographed gun duels and all-out brawls with everyday items; and entangled relationships among friends, lovers, and enemies. That’s not all; these tales of crime and woe frequently mutate, becoming something else, mixing their DNA with strands of action, thrillers, police procedurals, comedy, and that staple of Korean cinema: melodrama. By the new millenium, Korean crime films became stranger, bloodier, and more uncontainable, rivaling Hong Kong and Japan for singular genre output. This survey is simply a guide, a sample platter of the delectable works in Korean film history. It shines a spotlight on both landmark films and deepcuts from the 1950s to the ‘00s."

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  1. 1 new

    Jiokhwa

    1958 — a.k.a. Flower in Hell, in 3 top lists Check
  2. 2 new

    Geudaewa yeongwonhi

    1958 — a.k.a. Forever with You, in 0 top lists Check
  3. 3 new

    Hanyo

    1960 — a.k.a. The Housemaid, in 6 top lists Check
  4. 4 new

    Janggun-ui suyeom

    1968 — a.k.a. The General's Mustache, in 1 top list Check
  5. 5 new

    Choihui jeungin

    1980 — a.k.a. Last Witness, in 1 top list Check
  6. 6 new

    Janggunui adeul

    1990 — a.k.a. General's Son, in 2 top lists Check
  7. 7 new

    Chorok mulkogi

    1997 — a.k.a. Green Fish, in 2 top lists Check
  8. 8 new

    Salinui chueok

    2003 — a.k.a. Memories of Murder, in 13 top lists Check
  9. 9 new

    Oldeuboi

    2003 — a.k.a. Oldboy, in 28 top lists Check
  10. 10 new

    Dalkomhan insaeng

    2005 — a.k.a. A Bittersweet Life, in 1 top list Check
  11. 11 new

    Chugyeogja

    2008 — a.k.a. The Chaser, in 1 top list Check
  12. 12 new

    Ddongpari

    2008 — a.k.a. Breathless, in 0 top lists Check
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Last updated on Nov 9, 2019; source