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J.S.A. - Joint Security Area

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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(Jul 12, 2005)
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$301.96 $5.32

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Editorial Reviews

In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 remaining bullets in the assassin's magazine clip, amount to 16 bullets for a gun that should normally hold 15 bullets. The investigating Swiss/Swedish team from the neutral countries overseeing the DMZ suspects that another, unknown party was involved - all of which points to some sort of cover up. The truth is much simpler and much more tragic.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Lee Yeong-ae, Shin Ha-kyun, Kim Tae-woo
  • Directors: Park Chan-wook
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: Chinese, Korean
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2005
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009NZ78I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,914 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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[[NOTE: This is an unedited reproduction of my original Amazon review of the "Import" edition of this DVD, post dated June 15, 2002; hence some of the information presented herein may be in need of a few minor 'update' tweaks]]

>>>

Spotlighted as one of the most expensive & highest grossing domestic Korean films to date (ranking third in overall audience attendance in Korea for a domestic film, just behind "Chingu" ["Friend"] and "Shiri" [or "Swiri"], and just ahead of the quirky romantic comedy "Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo" [aka "My Sassy Girl"], "JOINT SECURITY AREA" -- (Korean title: "Gongdong Kyeongbi Kuyeok - JSA") -- is one of those stories which starts off confusingly, but by the end ties everything together neatly and beautifully with some of the most sincere and genuine raw emotion ever experienced in a feature film.

"JSA" begins with a couple of contradictory flashbacks of an assassination-type event which takes place in a guardshack North of the DMZ (demilitarized zone) in the Joint Security Area, each based on the 'official version' of the story as propogated by North and South. As the film progresses, we are pulled along by a third and equally contradictory flashback, this one apparently revealing the truth not only of that fateful night's event which nearly ignited a small war between the two Koreas, but also giving us insight as to what led up to that point, and does so very tenderly and emotionally.
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This is an incredible movie that tells a story of friendship against a political backdrop. One night shots break out at the JSA leaving 2 North Korean soldiers dead, one south korean soldier in a catatonic shock, and another southern soldier suicidal. A Korean-Swiss soldier is assigned to the case to find out what happened, all the while maintaining her neutrality.

What unfolds is the story of a complex friendship between a pair of northern soldiers with a pair of southern soldiers. Chan Wook Park is gaining fame for his Revenge Trilogy as well as his part in Three... Extremes, but out of all his work it is JSA that stands out for me.

He handles the friendship between the soldiers masterfully; they form a strong bond, looking at each other as brothers, but at the same time there is a sense that the bond will be easily broken.

At the end, when we see that a throw away scene actually has a meaning, it is enough to bring a person to tears.
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This outstanding film takes place at the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone] separating North and South Korea. One of the worlds most sensitive military and political regions in the world. When two North Korean soldiers are discovered dead, and two South Korean soldiers suspected in their murders, a team of neutral countries are gathered to determine the cause of what has happened: in which the fate of renewed hostilities between the two countries becomes all too real. I don't want to give out any spoilers in this film, therefore, I must leave out important information which will ruin the film for you if I divulge too much.

There is more to the deaths of the two North Korean soldiers, and the two South Korean soldiers being questioned by the neutral investigators that makes this film so different and outstanding. This is one of the better films to tackle a suspenseful subject matter that I have seen in a long, long time. The film moves between the present and the past. Each giving the viewer vignettes of what has transpired that has caused this tragedy. And although the film is tragic, there is also hope in the film: Hope for those who wish to see a better tomorow between this divided nation.

The storyline and cinematography is excellent, and as usual, Park Chan-wook weaves a magical tapestry of a film. He is truly one of the greatest directors in the business today. In fact, he is a directorial artist. [If there is such a term] He has a vision of directing that very few in the business have today: Every subject matter he seems to tackle comes off brilliantly. I look forward to more of his films. [Take notice Hollywood!] I recommend the film highly, you will not be disappointed. Highly, highly recommended. [Stars: 5+]
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very well made movie...it is amazing how fast the South Korean film industry has propelled themselves onto the world stage. even though this was made quite a few years ago, it is still worth buying for collection.
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This film is from South Korea and it was supposed to be good. Apparently the standards for “good” in Korean filmmaking are quite different from Hollywood standards, which aren't all that high. I note that most reviewers give this film high ratings. It probably comes across way more powerfully if you understand Korean, which I do not. I was trying to follow this film with English dubbed in and English subtitles, and I have to say, that is a grave mistake.

J.S.A. stands for “Joint Security Area”—a location along the DMZ (de-militarized, aka intensely militarized) zone between South and North Korea, at which international peace-keeping forces are stationed and representatives from the two sides can meet to negotiate their differences.
The basis for the story is a bizarre event involving front-line soldiers from the two sides. Something went terribly wrong. A bunch of (maybe 5) Northern soldiers were shot and killed, at least one South Korean soldier was also killed, while another, who limped away and was rescued, is being hailed as a hero by the South. The two sides have radically different versions of the events. South Korean media are announcing that the Northerners kidnapped a Southern soldier, or pressured him to defect, and the other members of his squad rescued him in a shoot-out. The North says nonsense—five of our guys are dead and only one Southerner—the South clearly started this, and is trying to blame it all on the North as usual.

A female Korean with Swiss citizenship, is assigned the conflicted task of “getting to the bottom of it all”—but only if that bottom doesn’t actually blame either side, because that could trigger a conflagration while tempers on both sides are running so high.
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