agmtw logo
search
Swing Kids (2018)

Swing Kids (2018)

An engaging and enjoyable musical that revels in dance, but struggles in depicting its history

7.5

Movie

South Korea
English, Korean, Mandarin
Drama, War
2018
HYEONG-CHEOL KANG, KANG HYOUNG-CHUL
A.J. Simmons, Doh Kyung-soo, Hye-soo Park
133 min

TLDR

The tap dancing here… Seb in La La Land could never.

What it's about

Geoje-do prison camp, 1951. Communist Ro Gi-soo falls in love with tap dancing, after meeting former Broadway star and American officer Jackson, who finds a dance company in South Korean prisoner Kang Byung-sam, who hopes to find his wife, Chinese soldier Xiao Pang, who wants to improve his health, and translator Yang Pan-rae, who needs money.

The take

When it comes to being a drama with a cohesive and understandable message, Swing Kids falters, and doesn’t make it clear whether or not the film advocates for either pro-capitalist or pro-communist ideas– understandably so, considering how to this day, the peninsula remains split in part due to foreign intervention. The film is a bit too long, and struggles to juggle multiple tones, being a violent war drama, slapstick comedy, and fun tap-dancing musical all at once. But, when the film revels in dance and celebrates the connections made through it, the film shines, creating an incredible sonic soundscape composed entirely of rhythmic taps and sweeping brass, with the five leads dancing in pure joy. Swing Kids is not perfect, but it has heart and it recognizes the waste and tragedy of the human side that is lost due to war.

What stands out

The dance sequences, of course. It’s just so pleasurable to watch them dance and to listen to the music here.

Comments

Add a comment

Your name

Your comment

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

Beijing Watermelon (1989)

Nobuhiko Obayashi carves out a slice of real life kindness in this sweet, layered family drama

7.6

Han Gong-ju (2013)

A bitter story about school, friendship, and life

7.7

A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

A rich, melancholy tale of 1960s youth in Taiwan

9.0

The Tiger (2015)

The Korean wilderness is not easily conquered in this epic, yet contemplative period creature thriller

7.2

Comrades, Almost a Love Story (1996)

Almost Hong Kong natives become almost lovers in this heart stirring romance drama

8.2

Lust, Caution (2007)

A wartime spy falls for a collaborator in this erotic espionage drama

7.3

Miss Shampoo (2023)

Mobster drama meets quirky romance in this unique, though uneven, Taiwanese comedy

6.7

The Host (2006)

Family saves each other in this emotionally satisfying, epic monster movie

7.7

Days of Being Wild (1990)

A dreamy rumination on the beauty of unattainable romance

8.1

My Name Is Loh Kiwan (2024)

Love enables survival in this moving drama about the refugee experience

7.0

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2024 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.