Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu delivers a beautiful and heart-warming story of what it means to be a family in this stunning tale of a mother, her decision to give her child away and the two Brokers who attempt to make that happen.

I was really looking forward to this as I absolutely loved the director Kore-eda Hirokazu’s last film; the memorable Shoplifters (2019) which is in a way a companion piece to this film as both represent an unconventional family dynamic.

Song Kang-ho is the owner of a laundromat owner and Gang Don-won is a volunteer at a local church and the two of them run an illegal business selling children on the adoption black market, Bae Doona and Lee Joo-young play the detectives hot on their tails and singer Li Ji-eun (also known by her stage name IU) is the mother of the child that is up for adoption, Im Seung-soo humorously plays a child that tags along with the Brokers and the mother on their journey and Kang Gil-woo plays the head of the orphanage. All the cast give stellar performances filled with heart and soul in abundance and like the film never slip into over-sentimentalizing the action on screen.

Song Kang-ho in Broker

I am a huge fan of Song Kang-ho. I would go as far to say that I think he is one of the top 5 screen actors of this age, all over the world.
He is magnificent, the Parasite director Bong Joon-ho said about working with him:

“Even when I am thinking of my shots, when I picture his face, when I write the scenes I am able to really write those scenes with ease because I have the confidence that Song Kang-ho is able to captivate the audience in a way that no other actor I’ve worked with can and when I even think about the most absurd scenes I know that Song Kang-ho can pull them off and that is really reassuring on my part. I always feel safe when he is between me and the audience.”

He is subtle yet always fully in the scene, believable, human and vulnerable and he recently won the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his performance in Broker. He is a joy to watch.

Special mention goes to Kang Gil-woo who makes the most of a small part and plays drunk brilliantly in one scene in particular. He made me laugh out loud several times with his choices.

It’s interesting that Lee Ji-eun is involved, she is very good in the film. I wasn’t aware that she was a singer before I had seen the film but I’m sure this small, lovely intimate film will gain even more of an audience thanks to the inclusion of IU. There is a trend in casting these days that is influenced by the social media numbers of various stars and I usually feel a bit cynical about this but in this case Lee Ji-eun has already proved herself through her previous work as an actor, she was recently lauded in the television show My Mister and her performance in that show is apparently what prompted the director Kore-eda Hirozaku to cast her in this charming film. It’s a smart move as she has a huge following and will bring a great deal of promotion to the film and she’s talented to boot.

Lee Ji-eun AKA IU in Broker

Her performance in Broker is guarded, subtle and heart-breaking.
Watch her interview Song Kang-ho , Gang Don-won and Lee Joo-young in her tv talk show Palette, which also features her music:

Jung Jae-il composed the exquisite soundtrack to this film. He was also responsible for the fantastic soundtracks to Parasite and Squid Game, both absolutely excellent pieces of work. Here, he subtly weaves a tapestry of longing and warmth to create a lovely compliment to the visuals that sits really well and balanced in a cinematic landscape that could easily have been over sentimentalised.
Listen to a piece from the soundtrack below:

This was the Closing Night Film at the 69th Sydney Film Festival on Sunday 19th June 2022 and was the second of only two films that I saw at the festival this year.
The other film I saw being another Cannes winner, Triangle of Sadness, which won the Palme D’Or this year. Both films were excellent.

Broker received a 12 minute standing ovation at Cannes earlier in May this year.
That is no easy feat. It clearly struck a chord.

Watch the trailer for the film below:

This rag-tag thrown-together group finds out what it means to love and be loved on this moving journey about family.

This film is funny, moving and charming, do yourself a favour and look it up when it is released.

129 minutes

4.5/5

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