Secretly Greatly by Jang Cheol-Soo

Jang Cheol-Soo

Article By William Kustiono
Photo by Niko

On Thursday, July 11th, New York Asian Film Festival screened Secretly Greatly, a Korean action comedy-drama film by Jang Cheol-Soo. The film is based on the series called “Covertness” by Hun. The film was released on June 5, 2013 in South Korea and has broken several box office records, such as the highest single day movie ticket sale and the biggest opening weekend in South Korea. The movie became the fourth highest-grossing film of 2013 in the nation just behind The Berlin File.

The movie is situated around the events of the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong, focused on a group of elite spies called the 5446 Corps, trained specially by North Korea to infiltrate South Korea. Three units were deployed to be in disguise. Won Ryu-hwan, played by Kim Soo-hyun, is a top North Korean agent disguised as a fool who lives with a local shop owner. Ri Hae-rang, played by Park Ki-woong, is an agent disguised as a rock-star wannabe who does not know how to play an electric guitar. Ri Hae-jin, played by Lee Hyun-woo, is an agent disguised as an introvert student who acts as if he could care less for his surroundings. As these characters blend in the South Korean town society, they start to question their real identity as a North Korean spy agent. Their normal daily lives get turned upside down as they receive their first and possibly last mission assigned by the upper chain of command.

Jang Cheol-Soo

Secretly Greatly offers satirical humor to the audience. Won Ryu-hwan is considered as the top brass North Korean agent and a infiltration specialist. He must embark his new life as an idiot who always fall to the ground, bullied by the local children, and embarrass himself in the public. Imagine how he could endure himself being humiliated and treated as an idiot by society. It takes great patience and self-control to ensure the mission is successful. On the other hand, Agent Ri Hae-rang has been given a new identity as an emerging rockstar. Appearance can be deceiving. Ri Hae-rang does not know how to pick a guitar, and is a complete beginner in guitar. Even elementary and middle school students are able to play the guitar better than him. While disguised as a student, Ri Hae-jin did not learn how to secretly infiltrate and blend into the society. Won, his senior, had to teach him to gain people’s trust and guide him.

Jang Cheol-Soo

Overall, this movie is a must watch and Korean film fanatics should not miss this one. The movie involves a great deal of character development and perfectly reflects the South Korean small towns. As the story goes on, each character begins to develop characteristics, adapting to their surroundings and interacting with their neighbors. These three spies eventually question their former selves and stray from the spy rulebook. Why give up everything from the previous life, when you’re already happy with the new life?

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