PFC Kang and his friend Private Kim are patrolling the coast
at night watching for spies from North Korea. Tensions are high between North and South Korea. The coast
guard have standing orders to shoot anyone who could be a spy and cross into the coast at night. Kang mistakes a drunken
couple for spies and kills the man. He finds out it is one of the guys that daunted him during the day from the nearby
town. It causes a chain reaction that causes the woman to go insane and guilt to eat at PFC Kang.
THE COAST GUARD is what you may call a controversial film. Director Kim Ki-Duk grew up in an era where
North Korea and South Korea do not trust each other. Both sides are on the watch for spies. THE COAST GUARD shows the
effect one incident has on a town and a group of soldiers who are there to help protect the coast. Kang is obsessed
with killing a spy while the locals taunt the soldiers. Each of their actions cause a chain reaction. Paranoia
and obsession are the factors that fuel the story. Kang is rewarded for his actions, but he is horrified and his guilt
begins to drive him crazy. The surviving woman from the drunk couple becomes easy prey for the soldiers as she has
lost grip with reality.
THE COAST GUARD is director Kim's way of saying the mandatory military
service in South Korea and the old paranoia of waiting for spies from the north could be destructive to an entire culture.
The same culture continues to build mistrust between a divided Korea. Kim wants Korea to be unified one day,
but the military culture fuels the mistrust that prevents unification for two parts of Korea which have been divided
since the Korean War in the 1950s.
I also see this film could have easily been turned into a horror film with the way
the insane woman taunts and plays with the soldiers as they also take advantage of her mental unraveling. I would
also compare THE COAST GUARD to a Shakespearean tragedy. The movie offers no happy endings as one action
effects many lives.
Audio commentary with Director Kim Ki-duk.
Also a video introduction and an interview with the director are
A TV spot
and the original theatrical trailers are here. I do think the second theatrical trailer is a great trailer and much
better than the TV spot and the first theatrical trailer.
Photo gallery shows production still while the music video you can skip.
The new extra to this combo release is the overlong 30 minute plus making-of
featurette which follows the production through it's entire shoot, but it could have been a more-effective making-of if they
edited it down by 10 to 15 minutes.
THE COAST GUARD is controversial and intense. It shows what hate and paranoia can bring in addition to the effects
guilt has on people.
this review is (c)1-18-2012 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted
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