Kingmaker (2022) poster
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 313 users
# of Watchers: 1,016
Reviews: 2 users
Ranked #3946
Popularity #8245
Watchers 313

Seo Chang Dae, an ambitious political strategist, is impressed by the political platform of Kim Woon Beom and decides to join his campaign for president. In order to put up a strong front against the ruling dictatorial party, Seo sets in place a very aggressive campaign of propaganda, which helps Kim to become the leading opposition candidate. However, an internal conflict in the campaign arises when Seo urges Kim to adopt some shady tactics, arguing that they are a necessary means in politics. However, Kim does not believe these to be true politics. Meanwhile, the ruling party secretly contacts Seo to help their side in the hotly contested election. (Source: Edit Translation

  • English
  • Русский
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2022
  • Duration: 2 hr. 3 min.
  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 313 users)
  • Ranked: #3946
  • Popularity: #8245
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

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Kingmaker (2022) photo
Kingmaker (2022) photo
Kingmaker (2022) photo
Kingmaker (2022) photo
Kingmaker (2022) photo
Kingmaker (2022) photo


33 people found this review helpful
Jun 23, 2022
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0

Political thriller, eloquently dealing with SK´s struggle for true democracy. Inspired. Profound.

Election campaign is a fight. But what rules should be applied? Do you inevitably have to hand in your ideals and ethics at the entrance as price for political success?

Critical processing of South Korea's recent past - the democracy movement - is still in its infancy, because the dictatorship just finished a few decades ago and its proven structures within conservative circles are still resonating today. Increasingly, however, this topic is also taking up its media space. The political thriller "Kingmaker" sets a bold milestone by taking on a dazzling, comparatively upright, almost exemplary political personality, who for a long time seemed to have no chance in his sincere, ambitious fight for real democracy: Kim Dae-jung. He was the first opposition candidate to be elected President of the Republic. He is also the only South Korean to ever receive a Nobel Prize for his work on democracy and human rights. Some call him the Nelson Mandela of Asia...

In particular "Kingmaker" tells (in the plot prepared with some poetic freedom) about the early years of his political struggle and the arduous path that ultimately led him to the Blue House. The focus is less on his biography and more on what he still stands for in the eyes of most South Koreans today: real democracy. Or rather, against what he wanted to compete: the conservative, elitist, political cronies who stand in the way of progress and justice, if it is not in their own interest.

In the service of the electoral success, Kim (like so many politicians on this planet) was probably tried more than once to sanctify the 'good' purpose in the sights of many a morally questionable means. This difficult balancing act between an upright political attitude and one's own venality in a pact with a promising "devil" is illuminated and processed here in an impressive way. The temptation of a promising shortcut to success usually comes with a price that has to be paid sooner or later. (The internal struggle of 'for' versus 'against' shapes the decision-makers in South Korea with their well-established, conservative, shadowy networks to this day. This is actually writing daily history. And the TV and movie productions are full of it, too.)

The status quo - submission to the apparently influential 'more powerful' - is contrasted with a historically real personality. In order to convey the emotional dilemma in a dramaturgically clear way, Kim's campaign strategist of the first hours, Eom Chang-rok, was stylized as the main character and staged fictionally. In fact, little is known about him other than that he is said to have been brilliant and downright genius.

The story is about Eom Chang-rok's intelligent crisis interventions, solution approaches and election campaign strategies, some of which are in stark contrast to Kim's idealistic democratic values, that are always geared towards serving the people. The audience is confronted more than once with the question of whether the end might justify the means. Isn't the power of the people just a well-meant illusion after all? Wouldn't it be more efficient for the state leadership if a few (more or less) smart people decided for the many others in a short decision-making process? "Kingmaker" touches the foundations of political morality and ideology.

However, the KMovie also touches on very human weaknesses: the need for approval and the temptation to be seduced. These weaknesses are truly human and have to be dealt with by everybody - somehow, someday.

"Kingmaker" is a moving political thriller set in recent South Korean contemporary history about the stumbling blocks and challenges of true democracy. A democracy, that requires responsible, mature and accountable citizens. A democracy, that will always be challenged by the forces and networks operating in the shadows, whose goal is to incapacitate the citizens and instead rule for their own personal benefits.

An unpleasant subject, indeed. Yet the KMovie is eloquently dealing with this crucial issue for any democratic society.
A brilliant approach to this topic as well as to a younger chapter of South Korea´s history.
Inspired storytelling.
A profound production.

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Carli Sophie
0 people found this review helpful
Feb 29, 2024
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.5

Brilliant semi-historical movie about ethical questions

Important film about the ethical dilemma of modern times whether any unjust methods can be justified to achieve one’s goal if the person believes it is desirable. If so, where would be the permissible range?

Set in the 1960s-70s, “Kingmaker” revolves around an opposition party politician who dreams of becoming president and his excellent strategist. It was motivated by mysterious election strategist Eom Chang-rok, who worked for former President Kim Dae-jung, who became president in 1998 in the culmination of a decadeslong political career. As far as I understood it is the lead actor Sol Kyung Gu responsible for the change of names - because of the pressure in portraying an actual famous person and its habits he proposed to the director to use imagined names instead of true personalities. Of course, the synopsis is based on real life events but the portrayal and its characteristics are based on the interpretation of the actors. Personally I liked the small details that gave away hints for KDJ again and again. The injured leg should be the most obvious one.

Let’s talk about the movie:
I really enjoyed the whole ride into partially true history. When you’re in Korea and ask the people for their favorite President it’s mostly either Park Chung Hee or Kim Dae Jung (from my personal experience). It all depends where your political compass is headed. Because I also vibe with KDJ I was eager to watch the movie and had high expectations, especially when I got to know the whole crew. I wasn’t disappointed because the acting is extraordinary brilliant - fitting to the senior actors Stils. They captivated me all along and made the time travel a unique experience. However, I also enjoyed the creative intermissions like “aged black/white tv reports” or two masqueraded political cabaretist which gave you a time stamp within the story. The intrigues, mind games and versatile tricks to win elections are impressive and scary at the same time. So my fascination really pulled the strings and left me in awe with the story. Not really good but also not really bad characters - the truth is in the middle. But the overall question about what’s right or wrong to reach your goals build on your ideals can only be answered by the viewer and it’s quiet noticeable how modern is this philosophical question. Overall, I’m impressed and had fun with the movie. I’d wish we would get more movie portrayals about the Three Kim Era instead of the republican anti-heroes.

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  • Movie: Kingmaker
  • Country: South Korea
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2022
  • Duration: 2 hr. 3 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older


  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 313 users)
  • Ranked: #3946
  • Popularity: #8245
  • Watchers: 1,016

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