Ryoo Seung-wan, the mastermind behind box office hits The Unjust, The Berlin File, and Veteran, returns with a star-studded cast for an aquatic crime-action epic.
In 1970s South Korea, smuggling is rampant and considered a heinous crime. However, it might be the only option for some haenyeo — women free divers who have harvested shellfish and other sea treasures for hundreds of years — suffering a threat to their livelihoods after a chemical factory opens in their seaside village.
Using their speciality in diving and knowledge of the waters, old friends Choon-ja (Kim Hye-soo) and Jin-sook (Yum Jung-ah) start to smuggle goods. But when notorious smuggler and criminal Mr. Kwon (Zo In-sung) expands into their territory, a violent confrontation results. With the help of Jin-sook and their haenyeo friends, Choon-ja risks her life to plan for the most mind-bending and dangerous job, one that could become her biggest break — or the end of it all.
Ryoo Seung-wan directs Kim and Yum in a strong female-led action film that’s filled with smart tactics, deceptive mind games, and exciting action choreography — some underwater. This is a fresh approach to the crime-action genre that takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride of sheer entertainment.
Colourfully recreating the period aesthetics, the costumes, the sets, and even the music submerge us in a different time and place, a seaside town that once feigned innocence.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: explicit violence