Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Mother, Oldboy

Notable South Korean titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

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Directed by Joon-ho Bong

Cast: Hye-ja Kim, Bin Won, Ku Jin, Yoon Jae-Moon, Mun-hee Na, Mi-sun Jun, Young-Suck Lee, Sae-Beauk Song, Woo-hee Chun, Byoung-Soon Kim

Mother
Mother

Bong Joon-ho—who gave us the incredible, genre-scrambling giant-monster movie The Host—returns with this 100 percent gripping thriller. Kim Hye-ja plays a doting mother whose mentally challenged son is charged in a horrific murder. Convinced that her son was framed, mom will stop at nothing (and I mean nothing) to find the real killer. Like so many South Korean filmmakers, Bong juggles shocking violence, surprising black humor and utter visual beauty with the skill of a master. The tone is slippery, but the film is pure post-Hitchcock genius. In Korean with English subtitles.

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Directed by Chan-wook Park

Cast: Choi Min-sik, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh, Byeong-ok Kim, Seung-Shin Lee, Jin-seo Yun, Dae-yeon Lee, Kwang-rok Oh

Oldboy
Oldboy

This savagely original thriller from South Korea features a bizarrely intriguing premise. Ordinary family man Dae-su Oh (the intense Min-sik Choi from previous hits Shiri and Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War) is kidnapped one day and locked in a secret private prison. For 15 years, he's stuck there, unable to even talk to another human being. One day, out of the blue, he is set free. Having trained his body to become a rock-hard killing machine, our hero sets out to discover who imprisoned him and why. Innovatively shot, sympathetically acted and filled with crazy cool energy. Based on the Japanese comic book of the same name. In Korean with English subtitles.