With the global rise of the Hallyu wave, Korean cinema has firmly established itself as a powerhouse of rich storytelling, intricate characters, and stunning visuals. Netflix, the streaming juggernaut, has astutely recognized this surge in global interest and bolstered its library with an array of acclaimed Korean films. From heart-wrenching dramas and nail-biting thrillers to compelling romances and thought-provoking societal commentaries, these movies capture the essence of Korean filmmaking at its best. For those yet to delve into this cinematic treasure trove or seasoned fans seeking fresh recommendations, we present the “10 Best Korean Movies on Netflix Everyone Should Watch”. Dive in and witness the magic of Korean cinema, which has enchanted audiences worldwide.
10 Best Korean Movies on Netflix Everyone Should Watch
Space Sweepers (2021)
Set in a dystopian 2092, “Space Sweepers” is a Korean sci-fi gem that envisions Earth as a wasteland with humanity’s remnants soaring through the stars. Amidst the vastness of space, crews on ships, termed space sweepers, scavenge the cosmos for debris. The film zeroes in on the Spaceship Victory’s motley crew, who stumble upon a humanoid robot named Dorothy, a potential weapon of mass destruction. But as they grow fond of her, their ethical compass is tested. Through riveting visuals and a blend of adventure and heart, “Space Sweepers” delves deep into themes of environmental decay, the essence of humanity, and the moral quandaries we might face in the future.
Tune In For Love (2019)
“Tune In For Love” is a poignant Korean romance that spans years, chronicling the serendipitous encounters and poignant separations of its main protagonists. With time acting as both a divider and connector, the narrative follows two souls that continually gravitate towards each other, despite the changing landscapes of their lives. The film beautifully employs the technique of time jumps, a common trope in K-dramas, to narrate a tale that’s as much about enduring love as it is about destiny’s unpredictable play. The charm of “Tune In For Love” lies in its simplicity, capturing the essence of love’s resilience amidst life’s uncertainties.
The Fortress (2017)
Set against the chilling backdrop of the Qing invasion of Joseon in 1636, this movie dives deep into a significant juncture in Korean history, portraying the dire circumstances of the Joseon Dynasty, besieged within the Namhansanseong fortress during winter. Director Hwang Dong-hyuk masterfully captures the moral and strategic dilemmas faced by King Injo and his court, torn between surrendering to the Qing Dynasty and preserving their pride. With sterling performances from industry stalwarts like Lee Byung-hun and Park Hae-il, “The Fortress” is more than just a historical recount; it’s an intricate exploration of leadership, sacrifice, and national pride. A film that remains searingly resonant in its portrayal of a nation’s spirit in its darkest hour.
The movie centers around Seo Do-cheol, a tenacious detective, portrayed by Hwang Jung-min, who finds himself entangled in a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game with a sadistic heir to a powerful conglomerate. The seamless blending of genres allows for a thrilling ride, punctuated by moments of unexpected comedy, ensuring that the pace never wanes. The engaging plot coupled with remarkable performances create a compelling narrative that has captivated audiences globally. “Veteran” doesn’t just entertain; it delves into the contrasting worlds of privilege and duty, making it an unmissable piece on Netflix for aficionados of diverse cinematic experiences.
The Call (2020)
This film cleverly manipulates the concept of time, connecting two women, Seo-yeon and Young-sook, living 20 years apart through a mysterious phone call. The plot weaves a complex tapestry of frights, thrills, and unexpected developments, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. The psychological exploration of altering fate adds a sinister layer to the already enthralling storyline. With its dark twists and compelling characters, “The Call” doesn’t just haunt; it leaves viewers pondering the intertwining threads of destiny and choice. This film is a must-watch for those seeking a multifaceted horror experience.
Steel Rain (2017)
It stands as a thrilling testament to Korean action cinema, merging relentless tension with a sharp geopolitical exploration. This film, based on the acclaimed webtoon of the same name, navigates the treacherous waters of international relations as it portrays a North Korean agent trying to prevent a nuclear war following a coup in his homeland. The agent, played by the compelling Jung Woo-sung, finds himself in a race against time, striving to maintain peace while handling the critically wounded North Korean leader. “Steel Rain” doesn’t just captivate with its high-octane action sequences; it engages the audience with its intricate portrayal of global tensions and the precarious balance of power, making it a standout choice.
Blackpink: Light Up the Sky (2020)
Directed by Caroline Suh, this film is a vibrant tapestry of the highs and lows, the glamour and struggles, and the dedication and passion of the four immensely talented members of the group. This documentary is not just a musical journey; it is a deeply personal exploration of each member’s life, their relentless pursuit of musical excellence, and their profound connection with their fans. Winning Best Documentary at the SEC Awards in 2021, “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky” is a must-watch on Netflix for both Blackpink enthusiasts and those new to the K-pop phenomenon.
The Bros (2017)
It is a South Korean comedy film that provides a riveting blend of humor and familial relations. The story revolves around two estranged brothers who, after a long period of separation, meet unexpectedly at their father’s funeral. The subsequent journey they embark on unfolds a series of comedic yet heartwarming events that reflect on familial bonds, self-discovery, and reconciliation. This film combines the charm of cultural nuances with universal themes of family, making it a delightful watch. “The Bros” stands out with its witty dialogue, impeccable comic timing, and heartfelt moments, offering a well-rounded cinematic experience.
Miss Granny (2014)
Next on our list is “Miss Granny”, a delightful Korean comedy-drama that serves as a poignant exploration of age, youth, and familial bonds, all enveloped in lighthearted humor and heartfelt moments. The film, directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, centers around a 70-year-old woman who magically finds herself in the body of her 20-year-old self. With a renewed sense of youth, she embarks on a whimsical journey, offering audiences plenty of laughs, coupled with moments of introspection. Shim Eun-kyung’s compelling performance as the title character elevates the film, blending comedy and drama seamlessly. For those seeking a mix of laughter and sentimentality, “Miss Granny” stands out as a uniquely entertaining choice.
It is a compelling Korean-American film directed by Bong Joon-ho that intricately blends genres to deliver a poignant commentary on humanity’s relationship with animals. The film centers around Mija, a young girl who shares an unbreakable bond with Okja, a genetically modified “super pig.” Their tranquil life is disrupted when corporate interests aim to exploit Okja, leading Mija on a relentless pursuit to rescue her friend. With a harmonious blend of adventure, emotion, and thought-provoking themes, “Okja” explores the ethical ramifications of genetic modification and corporate greed, presenting a multifaceted narrative filled with heart and depth.