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5 Gong Yoo Movies That You Should Watch
1. The Age of Shadows (2016)
Set in the 1920's, it was the time of the Japanese occupation in South Korea. Japan's police officer named Lee Jung-chool (Song Kang-Ho), takes on a difficult task of arresting the Korean independence movement that he was once a member of. This group of resistance fighters are called the Righteous Brotherhood where Kim Woo-jin (Gong Yoo) stands as the regional leader. His front as an art dealer and Lee Jung-chool's pretensious interest in his Korean artworks are very much known to each other. Being aware of each other's true identities and objectives, they become closer but later on finds out a mole within the Righteous Brotherhood, and alters their plan of bringing in explosives from Shanghai so that they could destroy the Japanese facilities in Seoul.
The perfect word to describe The Age of Shadows is "Hollywood." This South Korean movie is a magnum opus in the film industry, taking it to the highest level. Writers Lee Ji-min and Park Jong-dae didn't just write to impress, they have produced a very well-written patriotic drama that created its own history between the Japanese occupancy and the Korean movement, and this all came to life with director Kim Jee-woon and the whole casts' impeccable performance. It was too believable, almost as if it happened in the 1920's and recorded in the history books. Watching the movie felt like being in a motion simulator theater in 4D technology that every tension can be felt, every torture hurts and leaves you gasping for air, every action leaves you panting, and every drama is very heartfelt.
*Winner of the Action Features category as Best Picture award at the 2016 Fantastic Fest held in Austin Texas.
*Winner of Best Film and Best Music (Mowg) in the 2016 36th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.
*Winner of Best Art Design in the 2016 53rd Grand Bell Awards.
*Winner of Best Composer (Mowg) in the 2016 11th Asian Film Awards.
*Winner of Best Director (Kim Ji-woon) and Best Actor (Song Kang-ho) in the 2017 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards.
2. Train to Busan (2016)
A fund manager and divorced single father named Seok-woo (Gong Yoo), takes his daughter Soo-an (Kim Su-an) to Busan to fulfill her birthday wish to see her mother. They take the KTX in Seoul but a badly beaten lady gets pass security and boards the train. She transforms into a zombie and attacks an attendant. An epidemic rapidly spreads and a zombie outbreak turns the whole ride into a life survival quest for all the passengers who weren't infected. Among these passengers are Seong-kyeong (Jung Yu-mi), a pregnant woman and his husband Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-seok) who both become a big help to Seok-woo's main goal of protecting his daughter Soo-an. They all have one goal --- to make it to Busan alive and uninfected.
Train to Busan tops all the zombie movies within Asia and even in Hollywood with its never-ending stress and strain. The tension all throughout the movie would've triggered a heart attack to people with weak nerves. It was the anticipation of a zombie presence during the infrequent quiet times that was nerve-racking. Moreover, the survival instincts of a father to protect his daughter on the seemingly endless trip to Busan with zombies after them, contributed a wholehearted vibe to the action-packed film. This movie is a mix of heartbreak and triumph with dramatic elements to enhance a typical zombie movie into an exceptional one.
*Winner of Technical Award and Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Film in the 2016 Blue Dragon Film Awards.
*Winner of Best Supporting Actor (Kim Eui-sung) and Yu Hyun-mok Film Arts Award (Yeon Sang-ho) in the 2016 Buil Film Awards.
*Winner of Technical Award in the 2016 Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.
*Winner of Best Supporting Actor (Kim Eui-sung) and Best New Director (Yeon Sang-ho) in the 2017 Bakesang Arts Awards.
*Winner of Technical Award (Kwak Tae-young) and Special Audience Award for Best Film in the 2017 Chunsa Film Awards.
3. A Man and a Woman (2016)
In Finland, a man and a woman meets by chance when they drop their kids at the assembly area for a children's camp in Helsinki. The woman (Jeon Do-Yeon) borrows a lighter from a man (Gong Yoo) and asks her if she is Korean. She answers with a simple "yes" then asks the man if he knows where the children are going. They then decide to trail them to the campground as the woman feels too protective of her kid, who is a special child. The woman decides to go back as she sees a glimpse of their camp place from afar but they both get stuck on a snowstorm. They decide to spend an evening at an inn and walks through the woods in the morning. They both find themselves alone in a secluded sauna and commits an act of infidelity to their husband and wife. In the car, they part ways without knowing each other's names. 8 months later the man shows up outside the woman's workplace. They finally discover their name. The man sees the woman's name on a business card as CEO Sang-min (Jeon Do-yeon), and the woman receives a message via mobile with the man's name as Ki-hong (Gong Yoo). They meet each other a few times but later on gets struck by the reality that they both have their own lives and families to take care of.
This is Gong Yoo's first and most daring film, as his character takes the opportunity of having an affair with another woman. The movie A Man and a Woman is the one and only film with an unexpected seductive exposure from Gong Yoo...something he never does on his other films. The dramatic portrayal of a lonely man and a miserable woman bring the audience to tears as the reality of their relationship's immorality is bound to end. The story is very typical and controversial that it becomes an eye-opener to anyone in the same predicament. The movie is very realistic as both Gong Yoo and Jeon Do-yeon did a remarkable performance.
The Suspect [Blu-ray] Blu-ray Gong Yoo (Actor), Hee-Soon Park (Actor), Shin-Yeon Won (Director)
4. The Suspect (2016)
The government discards Jo Dong-chul (Gong Yoo) as a top special forces agent in North Korea after a change in political power. He gets massively broken upon discovering his wife and daughter's corpses in China and chases his family's killer. While on a hunt, he works as a personal chauffeur of Chairman Park, who gets killed by an assassin. Jo Dong-chul becomes the main suspect of the murder and finds himself investigating who the real killer is and what is behind the crime. His lack of drive to live in a miserable life changes when he learns that his daughter is still alive and was sold as a slave in China. His purpose gives more than enough motivation to uncover 2 mysteries --- Chairman Park's death and the possibility that his daughter is still alive.
The Suspect has the best car chase scenes anyone could ever imagine and is jam-packed with action almost all throughout the movie. This is by far the best Gong Yoo movie that I have watched over and over without getting sick and tired of watching every single second of it. His character never smiles as he is burdened with life's unfortunate events but the survival instincts of a father makes it very heartfelt. Jo Dung-chul gives the creeps out of anyone who stands in his way of avenging his family and clearing out his records as a murder suspect. He is fierce, brutal and a man with few words. There was really more gestures, action and cold haunting eyes that could either melt or kill you. I like the fury that Gong Yoo's character is consistently showing and the movie overall, is full of violence, unjust schemes and events, showcasing a world that sucks and merciless to live in. I felt much victory before it ended and all the tension just simmered down as Jo Dung-chul finally tracks and sees his daughter. The final clip shows him looking vicious as he enters a door. It gives an obvious impression that he will be doing something beastly to the heartless people who made his daughter a slave.
*Winner of Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Film (Gong Yoo) in the 2014 22nd Korea Culture and Entertainment Awards.
*Winner of Critic' Top 10 in the 2014 34th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.
Silenced DVD Yoo Gong (Actor), Yu-mi Jeong (Actor), Dong-hyuk Hwang (Director)
5. Silenced (2012)
Kang In-ho (Gong Yoo) is an unfortunate man whose wife committed suicide and has a very sick daughter being taken cared of by his mother. He starts a new life as an art teacher at Benevolence Academy, a special school for children who are mute and deaf. He reaches out to the kids by showing he cares but they are very distant. 3 kids finally open up to him and he learns a very appalling and monstrous truth about the kids and the faculty. They are physically and sexually abused by the school's principal and teachers. He teams up with Seo Yoo-jin (Jung Yu-mi), a human rights activist to give justice to the crimes that the faculty has committed against the helpless children of Benevolence Academy. They are being abused because they couldn't speak and have hearing deficiency. In the process of seeking justice, Kang In-ho learns another horrible fact. The police, prosecutors and even the churches in the community are trying to cover up the truth because they are being bribed with money and position.
This movie was based on the bestselling book "The Crucible" by Gong Ji-young. The story's horrifyingly unacceptable crimes are based from true events and this movie has triggered a very positive influence on the public's outcry which prompted the police to reopen the case. The lawmakers has also introduced bills for the human rights of the vulnerable. Silenced is a film that has tackled a very sensitive topic that finally showed the state of the Korean society. The psychological effect lasts for quite some time due to the visual scenes, as horrifying crimes have been undertaken. On Gong Yoo's interview with People Inside, it was revealed that the movie was made possible because Gong Yoo has read the novel and felt angry and very concerned to the hideous physical and sexual assaults done to helpless children. As an actor, he wanted to be a good influence to society by suggesting the novel to be adapted in the big screen. His goal was definitely a success for making the movie a big eye-opener to the society and this made me a bigger fan of him for the bravery and the involvement that he partook in this kind of social issue.
*Winner of Popular Star Award (Gong Yoo) and Best Music (Mowg) in the 2011 32nd Blue Dragon Film Awards.
*Winner of Best Film in the 2012 KOFRA Film Awards.
*Winner of Audience Award and Black Dragon Audience Award in the 2012 Udine Far East Film Festival.