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Film of the Week Baby snatchers

MARIA DUARTE is won over by a thriller that provides an insightful look at Korean society

Broker (12A)
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

FROM Hirokazu Kore-eda, the critically acclaimed director of Shoplifter, comes a powerful crime drama set in South Korea about baby traffickers and the meaning of family.

The film follows Moon So Young (Ji Eun Lee) as she leaves her baby son Woo Sung in a baby box, which is where Korean mothers who cannot cope and who cannot legally put their babies up for adoption can drop off their infants safely.

When she returns the next day to get Woo Sung back she discovers that he has been snatched by two men, the brokers, who plan to sell him off to a rich couple who cannot legally adopt.

So she decides to join Ha Sang Hyun (Song Kang Ho from Parasite) and Dong Soo (Gang Dong Won) on their road trip to ensure her son goes to a good home.

Meanwhile two female police detectives Su-Jin (Bae Doona) and Lee (Lee Joo Young) are on their trail aiming to catch them in the act and racking up the tension.

This is Kore-eda’s first film in Korean and while it is a nail-biting thriller is has a rich human complexity as this group of colourful characters slowly become a family of sorts. They each have their own demons to face.

Sang Hyun, who runs a laundry shop, is in severe financial difficulties while Dong Soo, who is himself an orphan, knows what it feels like to be abandoned by his mother and not to know the reason why.

This trauma has been eating him all his life. So Young keeps tight-lipped throughout about her decision to give up her son but they all undergo a journey of change and self-discovery and this is driven home by stunning performances from the cast.

The film provides an insightful look at a cross section of Korean society and explores the fundamental and heartbreaking question posed by many raised in orphanages: “Why was I born at all?”

Despite its challenging subject matter, Broker proves to be an uplifting film where warmth and humanity prevail, and which shows you can find your own family and your own people and not be dictated to by society’s norms.

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