Towards the end of the Korean War, on the eastern front line of the Aerok Hills, the North and South Koreans battle over a strategic point which will determine the border between the two Koreas. After it is discovered that a South Korean company commander was killed by a bullet belonging to the South Korean Army, Kang Eun-Pyo, a Lieutenant of the Defense Security command, is sent to investigate. When he arrives, he finds his old friend Kim Soo-Hyeok, who he believed was dead, commanding the troops. Hun Jang's The Front Line is a war film exploring the moral ambiguous and comradery which exists between the grunts on the front lines. There is some anger in the tone of the film, touching heavily on the notion that "Soldiers simply do what they are told". There is frustration in the filmmaking, showing how opposing sides repeatedly battle back and forth over the same hill, each side losing the hill and then retaking it over and over essentially showing how meaningless soldiers individual lives can be. Besides this main theme, the film is really about the relationship between Soo-Hyeok and Eun-Pyo, two men who have experienced very different things. Soo-Hyeok has been on the front for years, battle hardened with little sympathy, as opposed to Eun-Pyo, the more pacifist-type, which in the end shows a nice dichotomy, strengthening the notion that the enemy isn't really North Korea, but rather war itself. One of the biggest problems with 'The Front Line' is that the script is filled to the brim with conventional war film tropes and character types indicative of the genre, making parts of the film seem very stale. That being said, the film does have enough unique twists, turns and ideals to make this film certainly worth watching.
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