Some of the most thrilling, unique and captivating movies ever made come from South Korea. Drama, Horror, Action, you name it, the South Korean film industry offers something for everyone. Even Hollywood has noticed the appeal of Korean cinema and it has either produced its own versions of South Korean movies, or it has recruited popular directors and actors from Korea. For instance, in 2013, Park Chan-wook, known for cult-classic “Old Boy”, directed his first movie in English, “Stoker” with Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikovska and Mathew Goode. Korean actresses and actors including Kim So Hyun, Bae Doona, Rain and Choi Min-Sik, have also worked in Hollywood. The interest in Korean cinema is on the rise and Netflix has taken note. It is possible to find a great selection of Korean movies on the popular streaming platform and here we present a list of the ones that you can’t miss.
The Man from Nowhere
If you are an action-fan, this 2010 film has to be in your watch list. The Man from Nowhere shows that Korean cinema can deliver action-packed stories with high quality. The movie was a blockbuster hit when it was originally released and it also enjoyed critical acclaim. The Man from Nowhere focuses on a former black ops soldier that now owns a pawn shop. After his neighbor, a little girl who he has befriended, is kidnapped by drug dealers, he embarks on a violent crusade and won’t stop until he rescues his friend and her mother. Starring Won Bin, this Korean thriller has been described as a combination of Man on Fire and Leon: The Professional.
The Beauty Inside
Interestingly, this Korean movie is a remake of an American film that was produced for social media. The movie focuses on a furniture designer who holds a secret. Every day, he wakes up in a different body. He may be a young woman one day and an old man the next one. As the main character struggles to come to terms with the unexpected changes, the only thing that remains the same is his girlfriend, which is aware of his secret and stands by him, in spite of the fact that every day, he needs to figure out a way to find her. This is a quirky, romantic comedy where love must overcome misunderstandings.
A Hard Day
Combining action, comedy and drama, this award-winning thriller starring Sun-kyun Lee tells us the story of Go Geon-soo, a homicide detective who is having the worst day of his life. Hi mother dies, his wife files for divorce and he is being investigated over alleged embezzlement. But that is only the beginning, on his way to his mother’s funeral, he accidentally kills a man with his car. To try to cover-up what happened, he hides the man’s body on his mother’s coffin, without knowing that someone has been watching all his moves. It is an enjoyable watch that will keep you wondering what will happen next.
Northern Limit Line
If war and historical movies are your thing, you need to check Northern Limit Line. This film is based on the events of the second naval battle of Yeonpyeong in 2002. As South Korea’s victories in the FIFA World Cup were grabbing the attention of the nation, North Korea took advantage of the distraction to cross the Northern Limit Line, a disputed line in the Yellow sea, which is used as a maritime border between North and South Korea. The movie focuses on the men in the South Korean patrol boat 357, who have to quickly react to the surprise attack from the North. The movie will allow you to find out more about military strategy, diplomacy and the geopolitical situation in the region.
After a stranger arrives to a small village, an inexplicable illness starts spreading and a police officer has to investigate a string of murders related to the disease. In order to save his daughter, he must solve the mystery. Although the movie can be classified as Horror, there is much more to it. This haunting tale is masterfully told and it will draw you to its characters and the strange circumstances surrounding them. The protagonist will question his faith, his views of the world and in the journey, so will the spectator. It is a unique cinematic experience that you can now catch on Netflix.
For many, Oldboy was the movie that introduced them to Korean cinema and what a way to discover Park Chan-wook’s work. If you haven’t watched it yet, the less you know about the movie, the better. We can simply say that this revenge tale focuses on a man who after being held against his will in a hotel room for 15 years, without even knowing why, starts a bloody mission to find the people who made him a prisoner. There is a lot of violence, but also a captivating story that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Please ignore the Hollywood remake, go straight to the original and discover why it is considered as one of the best movies of the 2000s.
Bae Dona and Song Kang-ho star in this entertaining monster flick that became a huge box office success and that also received praise from critics. A mysterious giant monster attacks Seoul and a man who is not particularly brilliant must find courage and get help from his sister in order to rescue his daughter. It is a fast-paced adventure that is not only a lot of fun, but that will also capture you with interesting characters and a good story.
How to watch the best Korean movies on Netflix
The above is only a selection of what you can find on Netflix when it comes to South Korean movies. The library is often updated with new titles and as you may know, the US version of Netflix usually offers a wider list of options. This is why it is advisable to consider a VPN that gives you the possibility of defeating geographical restrictions, so that you can access the US Nteflix library, even if you live in a different country. Although Netflix has implemented restrictions to prevent the use of VPNs, there are services that are still able to bypass the blocks. ExpressVPN is one of the best solutions when it comes to getting around restrictions and unblocking international content. They have US servers that allow you to access the content that Netflix offers in that country.