Haunting tale of war on a hillside. The two Koreas battle to take, and retake, a lonely hilltop. There's a look and feel to this film that really caught my eye, and I've thought about it all year. Characters seemed to be intentional caricatures, but with an honesty that I found fresh. Definitely a memorable film to see.
This Korean war film features some visceral battle sequences and compelling performances. It's the last half hour that collapses from over-the-top audience manipulation. You know: strings in the background while characters weep at the heavens. No doubt meant to drive home the futility of war - but the film was already effectively getting that message across without having to resort to such didactic means.
Apparently korean cinema either goes all the way out in creativity and originality or prefers to stay on the ground of soap-opera like convoluted melodrama and this one inclines to the latter, none the less it has moments of raw emotional power and memorable performances and I found for the most part very touching how they present the futility of war.
Three years of brutal combat as North and South Korean troops trade possession of a single hill. A bit reliant on soldier stereotypes but the actors credibly fill out even the most stereotypical roles. The sense of adjustment to the ongoing horror and the odd type of camaraderie that develops between the opposing sides sets us up for the especially taxing exercise in wasted humanity that concludes the film.