Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Beyond Utopia (2023)

If you want a truly great thriller, and true one to boot, the you MUST see BEYOND UTOPIA. The film is the story of number of defectors from North Korea who attempt to make their way to freedom. It’s one of the most gripping films of the year and something you’ll want to watch again simply because it’s such a great ride.

It always been incredibly difficult to get out of North Korea, but in recent years it’s become even more so. The North Koreans have built higher towers and started to give rewards like vacations to any soldier who shoots and kills a defector. On top of that the Chinese have taken to sending anyone they catch crossing the border back. Even if someone gets into China they still have to make their way through the country to an exit point. It’s a crazy trip with dangers everywhere. The rewards of making it is better than staying where you are.

Focusing on several people, a defector who writes and speaks about her experience getting out; another defector who is trying to bring her son to freedom, an entire family that some how managed to get into China where they are trying to hide from the authorities, and minister who learned how to help people escape by trying to figure out how to get the woman who would become his wife out of North Korea. The stories are perfectly blended so that you fall into everyone and are carried along from the first frame to the last.

This is quite simply one hell of a film. Sure it’s a documentary, but it transcends the form to become not only a thriller but a wonderful meditation on what people will do to live in a free society. It’s a meditation that will make you wonder what you would do in order to be free.

I loved this.

BEYOND UTOPIA opens Friday and is highly recommended to anyone who like tense thrillers as well as documentary fans

The film will also play November 11 at DOC NYC and stream as part of their on-line fest

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