St.Z.: Review: ‘A Taxi Driver’ Honors a Humble Hero in South Korea


  • Directed by Hun Jang
  • Action,  Drama,  History
  • 2h 17m

From left, Thomas Kretschmann and Song Kang-ho in „A Taxi Driver,“ based on a true story of heroism in South Korea in 1980. CreditCho Won Jin/Well Go USA 

With  („The Front Line“) takes historical events in South Korea — the imposition of martial law in 1980 by the dictator Chun Doo-hwan — to construct an affecting what-if tale. The plot has a factual basis: the relationship between a German TV journalist, Jürgen Hinzpeter, and the cabdriver who drove him from Seoul to the locked-down city of Gwangju, at the time a hotbed of pro-democracy student rebellion and violent repression. While the real-life name of the cabby and his ultimate fate are unclear (his name may have been Kim Sa-bok), the film calls him Kim Man-seob and gives him a poignant back story and destiny.

 1:51Trailer: ‚A Taxi Driver‘


Trailer: ‚A Taxi Driver‘

A preview of the film.

By WELL GO USA on  Publish DateAugust 10, 2017. Image courtesy of Internet Video Archive.Watch in Times Video »

Kim (Song Kang-ho) is a garrulous if gruff widowed father to an 11-year-old girl, impatient with traffic jams resulting from protests in Seoul. If it weren’t for the back rent he owes, he wouldn’t need to take Hinzpeter (Thomas Kretschmann) to the besieged Gwangju. But when he does, they witness a huge street demonstration that is met with tear gas and military brutality. The soft-spoken Hinzpeter is determined to smuggle footage of the dictatorship’s abuses to a German news organization, while the heretofore neutral Kim comes to realize the urgency of Hinzpeter’s mission.

The film climaxes with a breathless escape from Gwangju, as Kim and Hinzpeter elude government vehicles with the aid of other cabdrivers. But most impressive is Mr. Song, who persuasively conveys a working stiff’s political awakening.

A Taxi Driver

  • Director Hun Jang
  • Stars Kang-ho Song,  Thomas Kretschmann,  Hae-jin Yoo,  Jun-yeol RyuHyuk-kwon Park
  • Running Time 2h 17m
  • Genres Action,  Drama,  History
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    Last updated: Nov 2, 2017