Broker (2022) Review – Uphold the human spirit in its purest form

    Broker is a Korean language film written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda staring Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona, Lee Ji-eun and Lee Joo-young. Song Kang-ho won the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his work in Broker.

    Thematically, Broker is quite similar to some of Kore-eda‘s earlier works, like Shoplifters and Like Father, Like Son. It calls into question the concept of family in our conservative society. The story begins with a mother abandoning her baby on the doorstep of a church that offers a Babybox service. Individuals can use this service to covertly abandon their infants inside the Babybox. In South Korea as well as other nations across the world, this Babybox idea is quite debatable in terms of both law and ethics. In the film, the mother does not place the infant inside the Babybox, but rather leaves the baby on the floor, but why? Kore-eda never answers the question. It gave the audience room to reflect. Is it possible to become a mother just through childbirth? Can a woman naturally grow her maternal instinct if she has a child? Is the Babybox to blame for the rise in irresponsible mothers? What about the father? Is it entirely the mother’s fault? Why not abort if you’re unable to accept responsibility? In the first five minutes of the movie, a lot of questions are raised. Such bravery on the part of Kore-eda to pose these queries to a judgmental society.

    Two investigators are pursuing a child trafficking ring that two members of the church are running. These detectives stand in for you, the audience. Song Kang-ho and a friend abducted the baby from the Babybox and destroyed all CCTV footage. Let me start by saying that this is not a crime thriller. It has a stronger human flavour. Eventually the mother and these two kidnappers team up together and go on a road trip to sell the baby to a worthy couple, while the two detectives also follow them to the end.

    This is a story about some misfits/outcasts who get together and form a familial bond. People are normally born into a family, but in this story, our protagonists tries to form a family. It could be unusual, yet it seems extremely natural. Somehow, the time they spend together has an impact on their thinking. They are at odds with themselves but still being kind to each other. They enjoy some good times together. The film’s attempt is to highlight the contrasting character of humans and their relationships. Even the traditional family structure in our society is called into question.

    Kore-eda attempts to artistically depict the contradictory human nature. The use of light and shadows during a conversation in a train journey to depict the contrasts within the individual is an amazing cinematic moment. There are times in the movie when you can’t understand the characters’ motivations since they don’t abide by social norms or even the imposed values of society. The acting in the movie is excellent. They provide credence to the movie’s realism. With all the mayhem around, it is the performances, particularly those of Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, and Lee Ji-eun, that add lightness to the film without sacrificing its profundity.

    Broker is a well-made film that discusses the complexities of challenges encountered by outcasts, and attempts to uphold the human spirit in its purest form. One of finest film from the master filmmaker Kore-eda. The film never serves to the anticipation of the audience intentionally. As one of the detectives in the film stated, “WE are the real brokers.” Of course we are.

    Thank you for being born.

    Broker (2022)


    About the author

    Ajit has had a passion for movies since he was a child. As a screenwriter, he has written scripts for films and television series. Aside from films, he enjoys travelling. You can follow him on twitter @ajit1113

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