Set in Japanese-occupied Korea in 1933, five people are held captive by a security chief determined to find the spy “Phantom” in this stylish, highly entertaining thriller.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
A gripping spy action-thriller that will keep you guessing until the explosive finale, Lee Hae-young’s Phantom is a stylish adaptation of Chinese novel The Message, anchored by memorable characters and strong performances from the ensemble cast.
It’s 1933 in Seoul, two decades after Korea was colonised and under the ruthless control of the Japanese Empire. A new Japanese resident-general arrives and is immediately targeted in an assassination attempt. Believing a spy code-named “Phantom” is within the colonial government and feeding information to the resistance, security chief Kaito (Park Hae-soo) rounds up five suspects and places them in an isolated seaside hotel.
The suspects — codebreaker Mr. Cheon (Suh Hyun-woo); Japanese-Korean police officer Murayama (Sol Kyung-gu); secretary to the deputy governor-general Yuriko (Park So-dam); communications officer Park Cha-kyung (Lee Ha-nee) and office worker Baek-ho (Kim Dong-hee), are given a deadline to confess or to find Phantom amongst them. Held captive with listening bugs everywhere and Kaito watching their every move, the suspects must play cat-and-mouse mind games with their captors — and each other — to survive, while Phantom must keep their identity secret at all costs and complete their mission. — Vicci Ho
“A throwback to American film noir from the last century, Lee Hae-young's new project takes us into an almost bicolor universe. Women in raincoats smoke in slow motion under the rain, exchanged coded messages pass from hand to hand in an old illegal cinema, and a scheme is brewing as the sumptuous film Shanghai Express plays in the background. Phantom is part of the wave of new Korean cinema…that focuses on powerful women.” — Eleo Billet, Asian Movie Pulse