Jang Cheol-soo splatted onto Korea's cinema circuit back in 2010 with the bloody thriller "Bedevilled", but we had to wait until June 2013 to get another taste of Jang's talents. His second feature, "Secretly and Greatly", broke the record for highest single day ticket haul in Korea's history (919,036), and then went on to become one of the highest grossing movies of the year.
The following gallery contains a selection of shots and comments from Jang's his second film: "Secretly and Greatly" (2013) - To Remember, Share, and Enjoy! [spoiler].
First shot of Ryoo-hwan. In the previous scene Jang paints Ryoo-hwan as a hardline dicerning agent and contrasts that with…
…his cover as the mentally impaired neighbourhood goof.
Ryoo-hwan's hair is shaggy, he makes sure he has snot dribbling from his nose, and he always wears a green tracksuit with one leg pulled up (for that 'special' effect). In order to keep up his cover he has a list of antics he performers at different intervals. So, for example, he must fall down stairs X number times per week, defecate in public every six months, etc.
Ryoo-hwan's corner. He works as an assistant for a old woman and her son, helping them with their convienant store located within a small, closely knit, community.
While holding down the store, Ran (Lee Chae-Young) comes in oozing sexiness to squeeze some free cigarettes from our dummy, but still male, agent.
Ryoo-hwan is not alone. He quietly makes regular contact with a delivery man (Seo Sang-Goo played by Ko Sang-goo) who is also undercover. Here they are enjoying one of those ice-creams you break apart and share.
Sang-goo has seemingly become alarmingly immersed within South Korean pop culture. Here he shares his enthusiasm for the K-pop girl group Sistars. He's just got promoted within their fanclub and is over-the-moon.
Ryoo-hwan is required to poop in public every six months (according to his cover checklist), which he does so happily. But here one of the cute neighbourhood girls strolls into view and his embrassement is palpable….
…then visually intensified by Jang as Ryoo-hwan's biannual open dump is steamed up from above. Stinky stuff.
He gives Yoon Yoo-Ran (Park Eun-bin) a cheesy smile the next day, but she wont soon forget the spectacle and smell.
Her younger brother always clobbers Ryoo-hwan. Ryoo-hwan thinks about just breaking his arm with his mad skills, but chooses to remain falt on his face here as the previous night's embarrassment holds its pose.
The richest family in the neighbourhood has another sexy femme. Ryoo-hwan and his step brother deliver eggs and rice to them, and then Jang takes a moments to be dirt funny with some saucy suggestions.
Ko Young-Gam (Jang Gwang) is her father, he owns a few apartments in the area and is stingy with his money. Loving and pleasant though, and seemingly oblivious to his daughter's attractiveness.
Ryoo-hwan doing impossible push-ups in his room.
The money shot.
Fellow North Korean agent Lee Hae-Rang (Park Ki-wong) gets sent to the South to join Ryoo-hwan. His cover is to become a K-pop rockstar…but his music skills need some serious work.
One thing keeping Ryoo-hwan going are thoughts of his mom back home. He writes her letters, but keeps them all under his bed as can't actually make contact with her.
Jang gives us a little community dilemma when one of two boys that teases Ryoo-hwan goes missing. But our trained hero tracks him down…
…he's found at the local barber (who has a crush on his mother) who gives him some snacks and makes him pinky promise not tell his mother.
Sang-goo confesses to Ryoo-hwan that he has betrayed his country and his family is now endanger. Ryoo-hwan puts a gun to his head (he's hasn't forgotten his loyalties), but ends up not pulling the trigger on his comrade.
A new North Korean agent makes himself known, the young gun Ri Hae-Jin (Lee Hyun-woo). He's a hardline youngster who challenges Ryoo-hwan and Hae-rang with his rigid and naive loyality.
In a drunk moment Ran confesses that she has a kid who was sent to the States, she longs to see him but is scared and doesn't have the money.
Jang frequently takes the time to frame the nieghbourhood…
…shown again here under clearer skies. Blue skies and fluffy white clouds are less than rare in Korea's cities.
Ryoo doesn't want to hurt his community, and he shows the young agent another way to deal with community issues. Instead of killing one of girl's bosses (he was being a creepy pervert), he takes some pictures and video to blackmail him into leaving her alone.
Ryoo-hwan tries to guide the youngster and teach him that there are other, more peaceful, paths to achieving your objectives.
One big happy community.
Jang jumps into the camera during this bonding moment. Later, he will jump into the scope of a sniper rifle.
[Flashback] Jang frequently cuts to the agents' past, their hard and ruthless training, and it becomes clear that these agents have more feelings for those around them than they realise.
Kim Tae-Won gets orders from his superior to terminate the 'salmon' agents, they are no longer needed and should kill themselves. The news is hard, by Tae-won is nationalist till the very end.
Jang cuts from that 'salmon' comment to the three agents preparing dried fish.
Another peaceful moment before the storm hits. Young men with dreams.
Tae-won has served his country without hesitation, and will have to travel South to take out those agents who won't commit suicide.
The barber gets some insider information from Ryoo-hwan (the two boys love cheese sticks) that helps him woe their mother. Ryoo-hwan is always looking for ways to help his community/step-family.
Before things get intense we are reminded here just how much Ryoo-hwan loves his mother, often writing letters or, like here, letting his mind wonder to her.
Jang then breaks that wonderful thought and shows us the three young men getting the order to commit suicide…
…Hae-rang phone lights up with the bad news.
The three agents meet after hearing the news, and it's the young gun who pulls a weapon on his comrades, telling them to follow through with the order or he will.
I believe Hae-jang's cigarettes get bigger and bigger as the film goes on. Eventually leading to a thick cigar.
Ryoo-hwan's final words written down for his mom. He knows a storm is coming.
The South Korean agents make contact with the three spies. They want them to surrender and not kill themselves. Here, they managed to capture Hae-jin and remove a tracker from him.
Hae-jin gets caught after a chase and struggle.
Ryoo-hwan's teacher arrives at the docks to hunt the three down.
In preperation for that confrontation, Ryoo-hwan gets himself a new look….
…and for first and last time speaks properly to a few of the community members.
Not so goofy now. Dreamy even.
Ryoo-hwan's last meal with his step-mother. She has looked after him ever since she found him.
[Flashback] This is how Ryoo-hwan came to the community. Dumped in the street ready to act the fool as if he had a serious accident that caused him brain damaged.
Ryoo-hwan ditches the green tracksuit and suits up.
He come across Ran and surprises her with some final words of advice for her trouble life. He also gives her the cash he was saving to go and see her son in America.
Meanwhile, Hae-jin is questioned by the South. He is still deeply loyal and just wants to be with the other agents/friends.
Ryoo-hwan willingly meets with his mentor.
He's respectful, but only wants to know if his mother is okay...
The abandoned building, marked with the red star, that he and Kim Tae-Won are in.
A double-agent of sorts is revealed.
The climax then takes place within an abandoned block of apartment buildings.
Jang likes tight framing and narrow eye-lines.
The final battle for freedom.
Hae-rang atop the building with Ryoo-hwan…waiting for Kim Tae-won and his men to storm up.
Tension, confusion, but is there a way out for them?
Jang's steps back to set the scene.
Rainy, in a deserted town, and atop an abandoned building.
Hae-jin managed to give the South Korean agents the slip and reveals himself when needed…
Ryoo-hwan breaks down as he faces defeat and the truth about his situation/past.
Jang's flashes back to the community and shows us the positive influence he had on their lives.
Ran is ready to go see her son…
…Brother and sister, together…
…the boys, their mom, and the love-struck barber…
Ryoo-hwan embraces his young comrade before the end.
His step-mother wonders where her loved son is…
"Don't get sick mom"
A heart-warming time-crystal to end.
What did you think of Jang's second film? Share your thoughts with others in comment section below and be heard!
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