Road Rash Reviews

Concrete Utopia Digital Review****-

Cert 15 | 130 mins | 2023

4 Star

Survival in the Ruins.

Writer/ director Tae-hwa Eom (Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned, Ing-too-gi)  brings us an intense survival film, that pits humans with a sense of purpose against those that want that purpose, in a devastated land, where there is no hope of rescue. A smash hit in Korea, it is now available on digital platforms, for you to enjoy this gripping drama, of what would you do?

When humans are the predator and the prey, what hope do the ‘cockroaches’ have?

For a long time, Seoul (South Korea) has embraced the apartment building, and now they dominate the skyline of the Capital city. Where people spend decades working hard so that they can move and upgrade their way of life in a new apartment block.

One of these towering blocks is 103 The Imperial Palace, and in room 602, husband Min-sung (Park Seo-joon, Parasite, Midnight Runners) and wife Myeong-hwa (Park Bo-young, Scandal Makers, A Werewolf Boy), are fast asleep in their freezing cold bedroom. When suddenly the fully clothed Min-sung wakes and walks to the window, what he sees is the end of everything, as an unprecedented earthquake sweeps across the city. Everything is flattened in its quake. When the dust settles, Min-sung and his wife are still alive amongst the devastation. When viewed from the outside, Block 103 is the only block that remains erect, in this unusually cold winter.

Being the only thing standing in the silence of this huge city, soon local survivors turn up at the doors to block 103, The 2020 Disaster Management Guidelines Manual doesn’t cover this much destruction, as everything has gone there are no rescue infrastructure left, no helicopters, just the sounds of the sparrows in the air. As people infest the block, people try to make a living bartering for the essentials, but there are always people who want what is not theirs, and soon there is a stabbing and a fire on the first floor due to these newcomers. But someone leaps into the burning building, and with the help of Min-sung, Kim Yeong-tak (Lee Byung-hun, I Saw the Devil, Joint Security Area), they put out the fire, but the problem of unwanted guests in their building remains, especially those that used to look down upon the residence of block 103. Something must be done.

Kim Yeong-tak of #902 our Provisional Resident Delegate.

Kim sees these interlopers as “cockroaches” and they must be evicted, while Min is put in charge of security and Myeong-hwa becomes the block’s nurse.

Our Apartments belong to the residents!!!

They organize and rebuild under the watchful eyes of the head of the Women’s Council Geum-ae (Kim Sun-young, Crash Landing on You (TV Series), Three Sisters), as the ‘cockroaches are evicted, and that is not popular, but one has to protect their own. However, not everybody believes in these hard line ideals.

With flashbacks, secrets are revealed about the residents of Block 103, as they fight to survive. It is us versus them!

Concrete Utopia, is a hard look at the human psyche, that’s put into an impossible situation, you’ll be in for one heck of a ride. Excellent. Concrete Utopia is on digital platforms 1 April

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DirectorTae-hwa Eom
GenreAction, Adventure, Drama
StarringPark Seo-joon, Lee Byung-hun, Park Bo-young, Kim Sun-young, Park Ji-hu Park Ji-hu