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The Battleship Island Film Review

Title: The Battleship Island

Director’s Name: Ryoo Seung-Wan

Genre: Action / War

Release Year: August 16 2017

Actors: Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub, Song Joong-ki, etc

This film depicts the situation of South Korea when it was still under Japanese colonial rule and was close to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States on August 6 and 9 1945. It tells the story of a group of 400 Korean workers who risked their lives to escape Hashima and the story of forced labor in that island. Enticed by a better life, Koreans had no idea that they would become forced laborers in Japanese coal mines. Hundreds of people, ranging from unemployed people, students, mafia, musicians, to small children were tricked and taken to Hashima Island, Japan, which is located on the coast of Nagasaki where 400 Koreans were taken prisoner and forced to work in coal mines. Underage girls are even taken to be comfort women in Japan. Among them are Lee Kang-ok (Hwang Jung-min), the musician, his daughter, So-hee (Kim Su-an), and Choi Chil-sung (So Ji-sub), a gangster. Then there is also Park Mu-young (Song Joong-ki) the secret soldier and Mallyon (Lee Jung-hyun) the brave woman. Japan as the ruling party is truly depicted as someone who is heartless, cunning, and takes the value of other people’s lives for granted. When the dark secret about Hashima Island is revealed, the Koreans plan a dramatic escape from the island. In the middle of the story, Park Moo-young (Joong-ki) appears, a soldier who was educated by America and sent to save someone on the island. In order to carry out his mission, Moo-young invites Lee Kang-ok (Jung-min) to work together because he has a lot of access to Japanese territory. However, Kang-ok put forward a condition that he and his daughter, So-hee (Kim Su-an), participate in this mission. The character played by Lee Kyong-young, Yoon Hak-chul, is said to be a traitor to his own country. Initially, he became a role model for South Korean citizens who were forced to live on Hashima Island. He is the one Moo-young must save for the sake of South Korean independence. However, while in Hashima, Moo-young discovers new facts about Hak-chul. The person who was predicted to be a hero was nothing but a traitor. In fact, Hak-chul collaborated with General Shimazaki in extorting money from the forced laborers. Thanks to Moo-young, Hak-chul’s cover is blown. Together with the forced laborers, Moo-young escapes from Hashima. Unfortunately, their plans did not go smoothly and there was a lot of bloodshed. Koreans fled the island as the war unfolded dramatically.

This film is based on the true story of the struggle of South Korean citizens in 1945. In this film, rather than being about Korean citizens trying to get out of Japanese rule, the disputes and betrayals of pro-Japanese actions between Korean citizens are very interesting. One of the Korean characters even bluntly said that his life was much more miserable when he met Korean people compared to Japanese. Unfortunately, not all stories are executed well. Many characters’ stories suddenly disappear, change, and even just end without in-depth explanation. Another note is the depiction of chaos, especially in dark coal mines, sometimes too quickly. This has the potential to make the audience have to be observant and really pay attention to the characters who are fighting or injured at that time. On the other hand, the tension and seriousness of The Battleship Island is balanced by the sweetness and warmth of the father-daughter relationship, Lee Gang-ok and So-hee, played by Hwang Jung-min and Kim Soo-ahn. Lee Gang-ok was the leader of a famous band in Korea at that time. Meanwhile, So-hee becomes a singer in her father’s band. Their interactions, including those of the other band members, provide a comedic element in this film.

The actors’ acting in telling how the Korean people struggled to escape Japanese rule was very dramatic. This film succeeded in making the audience feel how Korean people struggled at that time. About tenacity, loyalty, very well depicted in the film. At the end of the film, the scene where the Japanese flag is torn down by Korean citizens and how the Japanese general is killed is a very epic ending to this film.

The Battleship Island Film Review

Review Film The Battleship Island

The Battleship Island Film Review

The Battleship Island Film Review

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