Broker ★★★

Broker, Hirokazu Koreeda's pro-life modern fairy tale, turns out to be the most commercial, and most faceless output of his career. There are things to enjoy about this overlong, oversimplified crime drama, but at the end of the day, it just feels like a patchwork of Koreeda's previous works, with Korean flavors.

Koreeda's everlasting concern for little lives continues here, as he depicts an equal parts naive and heartwarming story of a group of "brokers" selling abandoned babies for a living. The comedic aspect of the story works beautifully thanks to its vibrant characters, although the story itself feels rushed at times. Korean singer IU is surprisingly the standout of the overall strong cast, whose charming and heartwrenching portrayal of a sassy teenager dealing with pregnancy is worth every award in the world.

At the same time, there are many aspects about Broker that rub me the wrong way. First of all it's totally devoid of Koreeda's brand of meditative sensitivity, Instead, we're offered a broad-stroked, cliched reimagining of Koreeda's past glories. For the most part, one wouldn't have guessed it's a Koreeda movie. Then, the story itself isn't groundbreaking enough to warrant its runtime, and it does not end on a satisfying note at all. Overall it's just an unfulfilling experience from Koreeda, who is unfortunately continuing his losing streak after the brilliance of Shoplifters.

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