Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda who directed the Shoplifters, the winner of Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film festival in 2018, is now back with ‘Broke’. The film is set in the South Korean city of Busan and is inspired by the ‘baby boxes’ phenomenon, where churches put up baby boxes for unwanted newborns. This Broker review touches upon the storyline and the characters and highlights the director’s view about unexpected families and what it means to the world.
Broker Review – The Plot
Kore-eda’s focus has been on stories of unexpected families, as seen in his masterpiece ‘Nobody Knows,’ and recent films like ‘After the Storm,’ ‘Like Father, Like Son,’ and ‘Shoplifters’. His latest movie, Broker 2022, is a moving drama of people driven together by fate and helping each other survive while rising above a harsh world that is getting harsher.
The film is about child trafficking and has the dramatic plot structure prevalent in Kore-eda films, which ultimately turns into great character studies.
The story opens with two child traffickers picking up an abandoned baby from the baby box of a church and planning to sell the baby in the illegal child adoption market. Laced with desperation and greed, the ugly situation is the premise of the Broker movie that turns into a sweet film in the hands of Kore-eda, who excels in family dramas. As witnessed in ‘Shoplifters,’ the director has the rare ability to add a warm playfulness and gentle humanity to stories that usually appear pretty grim. We see the same skills on display as Kore-eda creates his magical craft to deal humanely with marginalized characters of modern society with camaraderie and tenderness in harsh circumstances. Without being unduly optimistic, he discovers hope amid the misfortune and cruelty.
Sang-Hyeon and Dong-soo, the traffickers with a criminal past, take the baby Woo-sung. Dong-soo works part-time in the church after growing up at an orphanage. Sang-Hyeon, who owes money to loan sharks, spent time in jail and operates a struggling laundry business. So-young, the baby’s mother, who had some second thoughts, tracks down the duo and explains their good intentions about uniting children with loving parents and delivering a bundle of joy many couples long for. Of course, they charge a fee for their excellent work, but there is no bad intention behind it.
Traversing the Korean Roads
This Broker review might give the feeling of a road movie as the traffickers, and their new partner, the mother of the child, crisscross the towns and cities of South Korea looking for suitable parents for Woo-sung. Close at their heels are two police officers who create some light and enjoyable moments for the film. Hae-jin, an eight-year-old soccer-mad teen from Dong’s orphanage, joins the trio and adds a layer of a sitcom to the genre.
The Broker cast includes Song Kang Ho playing the central role of Sang –Hyeon, Kang Dong Won as Dong-soo, Iu So-young, and Park Ji Young playing the baby Woo-sung.