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Here's Why We Think "Concrete Utopia" Is Worth Watching

"Concrete Utopia" was picked to represent South Korea in the selection for Best International Feature Film at the 2024 Academy Awards. Here are our thoughts about this disaster epic movie

In the movie Concrete Utopia, Seoul has been rocked by an earthquake caused by a meteor. There is death and destruction, confusion and chaos everywhere. No government, no resources, no rhyme nor reason. 


But one apartment complex still stands and the “Chosen People” have to survive. In doing so, all the best and worst of humanity emerge: leadership becomes a nebulous show of power; values are a messy flow of internal and external questions. And the biggest question of all is, who gets to live or die?


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Lee Byung Hun delivers a searing, stunning performance as the Delegate. Park Seo Jun is his de facto second in command who gives a nuanced, affecting performance as the conflicted Everyman, swinging between grim reality and his own conscience. 


The nation’s favorite ahjumma Kim Sun Young is the looming mother figure of the story who dictates the story’s ebb and flow. Park Bo Young, a conscientious nurse who is also Park Seo Joon’s wife, is the complex’s beating heart, and contrary to her usual bubbly and energetic roles, underacts quietly with effective luminosity. While Park Ji Hu only comes out in the movie’s last half, she plays her pivotal role with raw emotion and impactful eye contact.


Lee Byung Hun in Concrete Utopia
Lee Byung Hun
Park Seo Jun in Concrete Utopia
Park Seo Jun
Park Bo Young in Concrete Utopia
Park Bo Young


Concrete Utopia is a powerful gripping action thriller on the surface, as well as social commentary and psychological drama all in one. Black humor peppers the scenes to leaven the heavy subject matter. This is not mere entertainment.  


The film has hints of other dystopian works such as The Hunger Games and Animal Farm, brought home with its acting master class. It raises important questions. What would I do if my life was on the line? Who is worth saving and who should be left to die?


When Thomas More wrote his work Utopia, he knew it was about an impossible dream, and still he wrote it.  Maybe that is the best part of being a human being, always going for more than what we can see.



The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has unanimously chosen the disaster epic Concrete Utopia to represent South Korea in the selection for Best International Feature Film at the 2024 Academy Awards.


Directed by Um Tae-hwaConcrete Utopia is loosely based on Part 2 of the hit webtoon “Joyful Outcast” (“Pleasant Neighbors”) and stars an ensemble of A-list Korean actors including Lee Byung Hun, Park Seo Jun, Park Bo Young, Park Ji Hu, Kim Do Yoon and Kim Sun Young.


The 2024 Academy Awards will be held on March 10, 2024. The final list of nominees for Best International Feature Film will be announced on January 23. Prior to the Oscars, the acclaimed South Korean film will have its North American premiere and gala presentation at the 48th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 9. Concrete Utopia stars Lee Byung Hun and Park Seo Jun will be participating TIFF’s audience-pleasing “In Conversation With…” series, which features in-depth conversations with film artists, writers and cultural figures about their creative process.


Be among the first to see Concrete Utopia in the Philippines! Catch sneak previews in your favorite cinemas on September 11 and 12, one week before the regular showing on September 20.
Be among the first to see Concrete Utopia in the Philippines! Catch sneak previews in your favorite cinemas on September 11 and 12, one week before the regular showing on September 20.


In cinemas September 20, Concrete Utopia is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.