The film “Broker” by Hirokazu Koreeda premiered at the Keene State Putnam Theater from April 7-10.
The film centered around a mother named So-young who left her baby outside a church in Buscan, and her journey after that moment.
We meet multiple characters throughout the film, but the baby is at the heart of it. The church the baby was left outside of is run by an owner of a laundromat named Sang-hyeon, and his friend Dongsoo works there as well. Together, they run an illegal operation of selling abandoned babies to people willing to adopt.
So-young comes back to the church to get her baby and finds out their plan of selling her baby to a different family, so she tags along to make sure her baby gets a good life.
There are two female officers following along with the group selling the baby because they suspected the church of running a human trafficking operation.
Over the course of the film, we see what the two officers’ relationships are, the motive for following them and how far they are willing to go to reach their goal.
What I liked about this film is that, over the course of the film, you see how the narrative and relationships among the characters develop, and you see how the dialogue is used to give backstory for the characters.
Additionally, I liked the camera work at times and use of montages around South Korea: stunning views of the mountain, car shots, wind turbines, docks and city life. It is an adventure film, so many locations and some cities at certain times were beautiful to see.
Another element of this film is the meaning behind one’s name. There’s a character named Haejin that tags along with the group from an adoption place they tried to sell the baby to that has history with the church. So-young tells him at one point what the meaning behind his name is: ‘out to sea.’ I found this cool because, over the course of the film, you see how the lives of these characters and the moments of their youth affect them as adults. There is also a murder aspect of this film that I felt could’ve been motivation for trying to get So-young from the police perspective. I understand it plays a part in the narrative, but I felt it could’ve been utilized more in a better way for the story. However, I did like the aspect of the two detectives following.
An interesting point brought up throughout the film is who is responsible for abandoning a baby. A lot of the blame is towards the mother, which in this case is So-young. Her dealing with the decision of leaving her baby is very emotional at times and I thought the performance was great.
Overall, I enjoyed the direction that Hirokazu Koreeeda took, and I enjoyed the cinematography and the performances by the actors.
Shawn Belden can be contacted at