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Film Review: The Negotiation 智命談判 협상 (2018) - South Korea

Andrew Chan Hyun Bin Son Ye-Jin The Negotiation 智命談判

The Negotiation 智命談判 협상 (2018) - South Korea

Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)

With two of South Korea biggest stars Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin headlining the latest crime thriller “The Negotiation” genuinely delivers a good old fashioned thriller that condemns wilder government corruptions beyond its hostage and negotiation subject matter. Director Lee Jeong-seok deliberately gives the centre stage to Son Ye-Jin to shine and the way she excellently capture the role of negotiator and the ongoing dilemma between being a human and politics as well as life and death is almost pin-point to perfection. The film comes to life as we see Hyun Bin plays the radical hostage villain as he exposes one truth after another and shaming the high level government officials along the way.

Son Ye-Jin shows why she is one of the best and most popular actresses with staying power in a fickle Korean entertainment industry. This is by far her most dramatic and dynamic role allowing her to show a spectre of emotions as well as being a strong female lead in a male dominated crime thriller Korean genre. Hyun Bin manages to be almost unrecognisable as he plays with the character and villain role with plenty of fire in the belly. We haven’t see Bin like this before and for long time fans, this is a rejoice to watch. Sang Ho-Kim provides able support as fellow negotiator. While Lee Jia shows glimpses of talent as Bin’s sister.

All in all, this film easy stay afloat in the long strings of crime thrillers coming out of South Korea, it contains a good balance of suspense, quality plot line, well developed leading characters and some good old fashioned action and political interplay. Hong Kong cinema should take a leaf out of Director Lee’s book and be more daring in its execution of the genre. Although, the film fails to exactly be a classic of the genre, it is a highly engaging from start to finish and a great performance from the two leads.

I rated it 8/10

In cinemas Hong Kong - late November

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