Director: Lee Jong-suk
Cast: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Kim Sang-ho, Kim Min-sang, Jang Young-nam, Lee Shi-ah
RunTime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: Clover Films and Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 4 October 2018
Synopsis: An ace police crisis negotiator, Chae-yoon is called to the scene where her supervisor is taken hostage. Faced with the cold-blooded hostage taker, Tae-gu, she tirelessly tries to crack him down. Eventually, the shocking truth begins to unveil…
The Negotiation is the latest thriller movie from the land of kimchi. It revolves around Inspector Ha Chae-yoon (played by Son Ye-Jin), a crisis negotiator from the Seoul Metropolitan Police. She’s an outstanding inspector, regarded highly of her negotiation skill and fluency in English, having her training received overseas. However, just when she wanted to quit altogether, she was named by a perpetrator, Min Tae-gu (played by Hyun Bin) to negotiate on behalf of the government.
The film opens with Chae-yoon trotting into the crisis scene in her plain clothes, establishing her character as being sassy and quick-witted. She got hold of the situation and proceeds to negotiate with the kidnappers who are taking hostage of civilians. But that surprised her superior as she was supposed to be off duty. Regardless, she made her way into the house to make direct contact with them to access the situation better. However, the scene turned ugly as the negotiations ‘failed’.
The opening scene probably didn’t make much sense at first, as it started off on a rather ‘bad’ note. However as the narrative progressed, it became clear why the opening scene was needed. The plot twist involved much uncovering of the authorities’ wrongdoings, and the complicated connection with arms dealer, Tae-gu. It’s probably not hard to guess what happened in between, but the overall storytelling was appropriate and nice paced, without too many cliches.
In terms of the cast, both Hyun Bin and Son Ye-Jin were equally outstanding. They are probably familiar faces, even for people who don’t follow Korean dramas now. They acted in popular television series Summer Scent (2003) and My Name Is Kim Sam-soon (2005) respectively. Hyun Bin’s performance definitely matured over the years, and showed much depth in his character. His character is not just single dimensional, he displayed a lot more complexities in the character’s feelings and demeanor. On the other hand, Son Ye-Jin is a well composed inspector and passionate about bringing about righteousness. It was definitely a treat when these two came together.
With an almost perfect cast and racy action, there’s almost nothing to criticise about the movie (well, not until you get bothered by the loopholes in the plot). The other pity would be trying to pull off multiple plot twists. It got a bit messier towards the end, but it did manage to recover with a mic-drop ending.
The Negotiation is a refreshing watch from the typical Western type of thriller-suspense movies. There was a fair balance between in gearing up for the action and packing it with good acting. While the storyline may not be the most unique, the overall watch was good one-off.
(How can a thriller-suspense movie be melodramatic as well? Well you need to watch to find out)
Review by Tho Shu Ling