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The Man Standing Next (2020) – English Review

One of the president’s closest men doesn’t like what he sees when the president is under great pressure and makes choices that are not best for the nation. The Americans want the president replaced, so now it’s up to this man to have the President removed from his position.

The Man Standing Next is partly based on true events. I have seen another South Korean movie that shows the same incident when the president was killed in 1979. The movie is called The President’s Last Bang (2005), which is also very good.

The Man Standing Next is a well-acted movie that has two great actors. These two are Lee Byung-hun and the always underrated Lee Sung-min. And Lee Byung-hun delivers one of his best role interpretations in his career.

Although we know the outcome early in the movie, and if you know a little about South Korea’s turbulent history, the movie is still suspenseful because of the excellent acting. You constantly feel uneasy when the protagonist and the president are in the same room. You know something bad will happen. It smells like death every time they are together in the same scene.

The protagonist and the president are no longer on speaking terms. The president listens more to incompetent and rotten people around him who the protagonist doesn’t like and who he knows doesn’t care about the nation. They only care about themselves and theirs, so these are characters you despise.

Political thrillers can be up and down with the pacing, something The Man Standing Next never has a problem with. The atmosphere is intense all the time. You root for the protagonist, and you constantly feel the uncomfortable atmosphere in the room when he, the president, and the bad people around him make stupid decisions that will do more harm to the civilian population just to hold on to his power.

This is a well-acted and suspenseful movie from start to finish with no kind of dead time thanks to two fantastic role interpretations and a tight script. So this will probably be one of the best movies from 2020 I’ve seen.

Rating: 9/10

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