Concrete Utopia Review: A Masterful Character-Driven Disaster Movie

Concrete Utopia is set in a decimated Seoul as survivors of an earthquake make their way to the only remaining building in the city

After an apocalyptic-scale earthquake, Seoul has been reduced to rubble. Decaying corpses of loved ones and strangers now litter the once densely populated streets. It becomes evident, the unlucky ones were those who survived. Seoul is in ruins, it has become a smog and dust-filled Hell but miraculously, one giant apartment complex managed to survive.

But what happens when this is the only standing building in the city? the only place where people can go. The residents now must stand their ground when they’re inevitably overrun by people looking for shelter and food.

With a New World, Comes New Rules and a New Ruler

A new government must be formed to retain order among the residents. But what happens when someone gets too much power? How easy can people be manipulated with an authoritarian figure? Concrete Utopia beautifully depicts the desperation and fear of the every day person to follow rules or face unimaginable consequences. There are no surprises when we hear of the background of the newly appointed “Delegate”.

If you don’t follow the rules, you’re out. But what if those rules weren’t right and it went against your moral code as decent human being?


  1. Our apartments belong to the residents. Only residents may live here.
  2. Residents must carry out their duties. Rations are distributed according to one’s contributions.
  3. All activities in our apartment complex are based on the democratic consensus of the
    residents. Those who do not comply cannot live here.

Concrete Utopia shows us a collapsed society. It shows us the animals we can become to try and make it functional again. But as well as that, it shows the other side. it shows us the beauty of some human souls and even know its the apocalypse, there is still good and kindness in people.

South Korean disaster movies always offer everything a big budget Hollywood blockbuster would. The only difference I see is that Korean productions ain’t shallow or hollow. You really care about the characters because they are so well written. Yes, we have our main characters but the supporting cast are as every bit as good and important to the story. Everyone serves their purpose, and everyone has a story to tell.

(South Korea’s Official Oscar Submission)

Directed By Um Tae-hwa

Will Open in New York and Los Angeles Exclusively In Theaters on

Friday, December 8

Nationwide Starting December 15


Screenplay:   LEE Shin-ji, UM Tae-hwa

Director:         UM Tae-hwa

Starring:        LEE Byung-hun (as Young-tak)

PARK Seo-jun (as Min-sung)

PARK Bo-young (as Myung-hwa)

KIM Sun-young (as Geum-ae)

PARK Ji-hu (as Hye-won)

KIM Do-yoon (as Do-kyun)

TRT: 129 minutes

Language: Korean with English Subtitles

U.S. Distributor: 815 Pictures, Seismic Releasing

As always, thanks for reading.


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