‘The Point Men,’ Korean film inspired by 2007 hostage crisis in Afghanistan

SEOUL– “The Point Men,” the long-awaited film inspired by a true story of 23 South Korean Christian volunteers taken hostage by Taliban militants in Afghanistan in 2007, will finally get a theatrical release next month.

The 43-day hostage situation that left two men dead was caused by the clash of two extreme religious beliefs, but the movie focuses on the humanistic activities of the two main characters who try to rescue the kidnapped Koreans safely, at any cost.

During a press conference to promote the film Tuesday, director Yim Soon-rye shared how she came to return with a film about the traumatic 2007 hostage crisis after the critically acclaimed “Little Forest” (2018).
“At first, I turned down the offer to direct the film, because it deals with a sensitive subject,” she recalled.

But on second thought, she wanted to do it by shifting the focus of the story from the hostages to the diplomats and state intelligence agents who struggle to get them released.

Veteran actor Hwang Jung-min plays Jeong Jae-ho, a foreign ministry official specializing in overseas negotiations. The competent negotiator is dispatched to Afghanistan for the first time in his life to rescue the hostages.

“It was difficult to do the role, because there were many English lines. People think I’m the guy from the state intelligence agency, but I’m a diplomat. Hyun Bin and I also wondered if our roles have changed with each other. I studied the character step by step, because I thought there must be a reason why the director asked me to play the role,” he said.

“The Point Men” marks his first reunion with Yim since 2001, when he debuted as a lead actor in her film “Waikiki Brothers.”

Hwang said he wasted no time in accepting the offer to work with her again because she is the one who saved his life as an actor. “I said I’ll do this project with no condition attached,” he added.

Hyun Bin, one of the most popular and influential actors in South Korea, plays Park Dae-shik, an experienced National Intelligence Service agent specializing in the Middle East and Central Asia. Park teams up with Jeong for the mission to save the Korean hostages in Afghanistan.

Hyun said he chose to do the film because he had never worked with Hwang, as well as the acclaimed director before.

“I received positive energy and learned a different perspective of making a film while working with Hwang,” he said, adding he changed a lot after doing the film.

Rounding out the main cast is Kang Ki-young, who rose to fame for his role as senior attorney Jung Myeong-seok in the smash-hit legal TV drama “Extraordinary Attorney Woo.”

He is expected to add comedic relief to the movie as Lee Bong-han, who claims to be Afghanistan’s only translator of Pashto, one of the two official languages spoken in the country. He plays a crucial role as a translator during the negotiation.

“The Point Men” will open in local theaters on Jan. 18.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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