TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Smugglers’

Posted in TIFF 2023 by - September 17, 2023
TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Smugglers’

What happens when you have a veteran Korean director bring forth a star studded action comedy heist movie? Well, you essentially get Oceans 11 on the water and it is nothing shy of marvelous. Smugglers is the newest film from Ryoo Seung-wan. He masterfully directs this heist movie with such precision, directing the script he co-wrote with Cha-won Choi and Kim Jung Youn. Both Ryoo and his co-writers bring something both heartfelt and hilarious, packing the ultimate punch of sincerity, suspense, and brilliance throughout the aquatic action thriller.

Smugglers focuses on Choon-Ja (Kim Hye-soo) and Jin-sook (Yum Jung-ah). They partner up to start smuggling goods on the water in order to gain some financial benefits and not be constrained to typical jobs. They have a particular set of skills in that they can dive without full equipment, but they have a history that is less than ideal. However, they put their differences aside to ensure that Mr. Kwon (Zo In-sung) isn’t the only smuggling game in town and that all of their hard work and tragedy didn’t end up in vain.

Smugglers is simply a masterclass in both direction and storytelling, complemented by incredible performances. It delicately balances its comedic moments and its heartfelt tone, doing so while creating a symmetry between the characters and the work they’re doing in the name of making money. It is a breath of fresh air in a sea of sameness that will certainly leave the audience at the edge of their seats.

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My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep. Feel free to interact me at @Dubsreviews
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