The man standing next

Poster The man standing next

Namsanui bujangdeul.

Color - 114mn - Original version with French subtitles
South Korea.
  • 13 September 2020 20:00
    Showroom 500
  • French premiere
Direction: Min-ho Woo.
Production: Min-ho Woo, Won-guk Kim, Sarah Kang.
Screenplay: Min-ho Woo.
Editing: Ji-eun Jeong, Cho Young Wuk.
Photography: Ko-nak Sun.
With: Byung-hun Lee, Sung-min Lee, Do-won Kwak, Hee-joon Lee.

In 1979, Korea is ruled by tyrannical and corrupt president Park, who controls the country with an iron fist, notably with the KCIA, the country's biggest intelligence agency. Its director Gyu-pyeong is promised a bright future. Meanwhile a former director, exiled to the US, is about to reveal secrets to the CIA, fueling a "Koreagate". An explosive situation...

In 2018 The Spy Gone North had captivated audiences by its richness and density. This year comes the intense political thriller we expected, devoid of Manichaeism, that questions all the complexities of a story that some would rather have simplified. In 2005, inspired by the same affair, Im Sang-soo had directed a stylized masterpiece with his The President’s Last Bang. Min-ho Woo's approach is different, investigating the reasons behind a murder, thouroughly examining the mechanics of corruption and power and the event’s tipping point. His thriller follows the codes of investigation movies and creates unexpected bridges between countries and  periods, sometimes reminiscent of Alan J.Pakula's films. With its natural sense of tempo, The Man Standing Next drags the viewer into its inescapable spiral and - even though we know the outcome - never eases the tension. With two stars like Lee Sung-min and Lee Byung-hun playing opponents like the president and the chief of the KCIA who will get rid of him, the stakes literally become shakespearean.