Operatives from both sides of the Korean divide, working diplomatic jobs in Somalia, must come together to survive as Mogadishu descends into civil war in a political thriller from writer/director Ryoo Seung-wan.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
“If North Korea and South Korea ever reunite and hold a celebratory film festival, Escape from Mogadishu is a sure thing for selection. Based on the amazing true story of embassy staff from both countries joining forces to escape probable death in the civil war-ravaged Somali capital in 1991, this propulsive and intelligently written South Korean adventure thriller casts partisan politics aside and celebrates what can be achieved when adversaries come together...
Ryoo’s tightly constructed screenplay paints a concise picture of mounting civil unrest in the Somali capital and the daunting task facing South Korean ambassador Han Shing-sung (Kim Yoon-seok)… The pressure on Han to get results intensifies with the arrival of Kang Dae-jin (Jo In-sung), a cocky KCIA officer with a chip on his shoulder as large as the Korean peninsula... What follows is a terrific mix of action-thriller excitement and riveting drama. It’s great to watch Han and Rim reject the paranoia-fueled protests of their respective intelligence officers and choose to instead find common ground... It’s not all deadly serious. Amusing gallows humor is added in scenes such as a group meal where fears of poisoned food hover before dining finally begins.
Even though the outcome is never in doubt, the execution of this survival run is genuinely thrilling... The private mutual respect between Han and Rim delivers a hopeful message about the dream many hold for peaceful Korean reunification, but once they’re in public view it’s strictly business as usual.” — Richard Kuipers, Variety