BROKER (2022)


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

TRIANGLE OF SADNESS (2022)


I saw this wonderfully witty film yesterday afternoon at the State Theatre on Sunday 19th June 2022 at 3pm as part of the last day of the Sydney Film Festival and going in I had no clue about the film’s narrative. 

Something about rich people, that’s literally it. 

Charlbi Dean and Harris Dickinson

This is always the best way for me to watch a film, the less I know, the less I can pre-judge and the cleaner the experience can be. Going in unadorned by my sometimes partly informed opinions I don’t allow my brain to make 2 and 2 equal 5 as it is wont to do. 

I did know that it was directed by Ruben Östlund, the Swedish director whose last two films I enjoyed very much, Force Majeure (2014) and The Square (2017) and also that it had just won the Palme D’Or at Cannes. It was probably going to be pretty decent.

The festival director, Nashen Moodley introduced the film and told us that we were one of the first audiences in the world to view the film off the back of it’s Cannes success.
He said that it was a wild film and were in for a wild ride. 

He wasn’t wrong. 

One of the great things about being in a darkened room with a bunch of strangers is the collective experience. This was an audience of cinema lovers and consequently they were all there out of a shared love for the art. The excitement was palpable.

From left: Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsen, Zlatco Buric, director Ruben Östlund, Charlbi Dean, Harris Dickinson and Carolina Gynning

A searing indictment of the discrepancies between the have too much and the rest of the world.
The film is told in 3 chapters.
The first is about the expected usual male/female roles that are played out in society, the second is set on a luxury cruise ship and the third is set on a beach.
Each chapter delves intelligently and very humorously about various topics including capitalism, socialism, taxes, power, masculine and feminine roles, and ultimately the usefulness and capabilities of the individual.

The less that is said about plot, the better for the unsuspecting audience.

1-There will be models

2-There will be a cruise

3-There will be an island.

The actors; Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly De Leon, Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsen, Jean-Christophe Folly, Iris Berben, Woody Harrelson and Zlatko Buric are all brilliant in this. Special shout out to Zlatko Buric who I last saw as Milo in the Pusher trilogy years ago and he is superb here.
Check him out in the clip below playing drunk magnificently.

Ruben Östlund continues his successful run of films with biting social observations in this absolutely brilliant, unapologetic satire on the rich and privileged. 

I highly recommend you seek out this very funny film when it is released near you.

A well deserved Palme D’Or winner.

147 minutes.

5/5