Dealer film assessment: Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Korean drama assembles an oddball ‘household’ that rallies round a child


Kore-eda Hirokazu as soon as once more explores the which means of household in his newest Korean drama Dealer. The function, starring Tune Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Doona Bae, Lee Ji-eun aka IU and Lee Joo-young, received two awards finally 12 months’s Cannes Movie Pageant, the Ecumenical Jury Award and the Greatest Actor Award for Tune Kang-ho. Dealer facilities itself round a younger lady who provides up her child and finds herself tagging together with the 2 brokers who need to promote the kid to a wealthy couple to lift it. (Additionally learn: Cannes full checklist of winners: Sweden’s Triangle of Unhappiness wins Palme d’Or, India’s All that Breathes is finest documentary)

That is the Japanese filmmaker’s second function not in his native language after the 2019 drama The Fact (La Vérité) in French. Utilizing a South Korean solid, the shifting drama places collectively an odd group that rally across the welfare of a child. The result’s an affecting piece that manages to tug on the heartstrings. Lee Ji-eun performs the younger mom Moon So-young who believes she’s dropping her child Woo-sung off at a Busan household church, solely to search out him within the fingers of two brokers.

Parasite star Tune Kang-ho and Gang Dong-won because the brokers persuade her to tag together with them to make the trade. However as anybody can predict, destiny has one thing else available for them, particularly as two feminine cops lie in wait, hoping to catch them within the act. And whereas the characters slowly type themselves right into a makeshift household, the place they every look out for an additional, you helplessly watch, understanding {that a} comfortable ending will not be doable for all of them.

Kore-eda has been analyzing these familial bonds between strangers in his earlier movies from Like Father, Like Son (2013) to Shoplifters (2018). In every of those award-winning options, the filmmaker reveals once more how blood will not be the one issue that ties households collectively. It is those that look after you and have your again when the chips are down that find yourself defining household in them.

In Dealer, it’s no totally different. Every of the primary characters have fractured relationships with their households. A couple of of them are precise orphans, with residual emotions of resentment in direction of their mother and father who deserted them. Because the movie progresses, the characters spend extra time collectively travelling from metropolis to metropolis to search out appropriate mother and father for Woo-sung. Slowly, they confide in each other after Gang Dong-won’s character Dong-soo genially proclaims, “This car is filled with liars.”

However whilst they’ve the very best intentions at coronary heart for an additional, there are bigger real-life issues looming for them, involving homicide and debt, that might not be as straightforward to get by. The solid, particularly standouts Tune Kang-ho and Lee Ji-eun, nail the emotional scenes. Even Im Seung-soo who performs the younger orphan Hae-jin and the child Woo-sung handle to go away their mark.

Dealer additionally questions some bigger points about adoption and orphanages, with a bit of little bit of darkish humour and loads of honesty. There aren’t any straightforward solutions for a lot of of them. However the Korean movie’s devastating ending will take a while to course of. In a manner, it jogged my memory of one other Korean movie Parasite (2019) by which sure characters’ arcs finish in uncertainty. The movie is sentimental in that it permits some characters to heal, but additionally heartbreaking the place it leaves others. In case you’ve loved Kore-eda Hirokazu’s earlier works, do not miss out on this newest nuanced drama.

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