This Korean film records the true espionage (though embellished) of Park Chae-seo, a South Korean who infiltrated the North Korean regime at the highest levels.

What was captivating about this film was not as much the plotline, nor the actors very unique portrayals of those involved in this incident, but the dilemmas faced by a country split apart as Korea has, not only by civil war, but by the tension between the tendency towards power accumulation and democracy: the lure of autocracy.

The notion that a citizen of an enemy country, so long as they same the same language, culture, and ethnic background, can be considered a compatriot and trustworthy also represented an alien concept to many whose notions of citizenship are based more on a civil conception than ethnocultural.

That a South Korean, Park Chae-seo, was taken in and introduced to the Supreme Leader, simply because the regime was cash starved and was similar to them, not only illustrate this point, but also show how fragile the regime must have been to make such sacrifices, despite their ostensive anti-capitalism, for as little as the daily earnings of Samsung’s CEO.

The notion that the so-called democratic regime that then existed in the South then would bribe their proclaimed adversary the DPRK to stage attacks on their own territory, all to manipulate the election, also raises valid questions regarding the defense of a flawed democracy when it possesses such authoritarian elements.

That South Korea emerged from its period of dictatorship and martial law to become the democracy, however corrupt and elite-centric it may be, still largely institutionally free and fair, is a testament, too, to the necessity to have patriots, whistleblowers, and brave souls who will risk everything to defend a value rather than a corrupted form of it.

Parties, movements, and people are all prone to error, excess, and sometimes evil, and the defense of a fair election in this case even if it cost the agency its insulation and power meant that the South Korea was no longer a democracy in name only.

It also points towards the ultimate tendency, slow as it may be, of the states of this world towards representative governement.

These elements of the film and the era make this film worthwhile to watch and ponder.

Rating: More than seven Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung pins