Watch The Trailer
Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Can you imagine liking people in a film, who participate in “baby trafficking”?
Okay, so on the surface, that theme doesn't point to us feeling warmth for such characters, but spend a couple of hours in the hands of Kore-eda Hirokazu with his film Broker, and your initial thoughts of revulsion will have evaporated.
Kore-eda brought us Shoplifters, one of my favourite films of 2018. He creates characters living on the fringes of South Korean society, who are striving to do the best for family and anyone else who joins their group, as they try to make a better life for themselves. Their activities are mostly dodgy, but the harm they inflict on others is negligible.
So when So-young (Lee Ji-eun) leaves her child near, not in, the local church's baby-box as rain pours, we already sense she is in two minds about her decision. Sang-hyun and Dong -soo dabble in passing babies onto caring families for a price. They are on hand to erase the CCTV and take possession of the infant. A nice little earner is impending. But complications arise. So-young (chequered past etc.) returns because she has second thoughts, and unbeknown to Sang and Dong they are under surveillance from a couple of police detectives who have had their suspicions about their activities. The detectives are also called to a dead body that had turned up on their patch.
I liked Broker equally as much as Shoplifters. In two hours we are asked to make some moral judgements of our own. Should we respect those who live life on the fringes, with little, who show resourcefulness but who are petty criminals? Are we being coaxed into testing our own moral standards? Part road trip, part mystery and always a social drama with heart, Broker is delightful.