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Movie Suggestion XXVII: Byeon-ho-in

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Movie Suggestion XXVII: Byeon-ho-in

 

Country: South Korea – 2013

 

Genre: Drama

 

Directed by: Woo-seok Yang

 

Starring: Kang-ho Song

 

Synopsis: “SONG Woo-seok has no clients, connections, or even a college degree, but his eye for business and appetite for money turn him into one of the most successful lawyers in town. But right at the peak of his success, a local teenager is falsely accused of a crime, then beaten and tortured while waiting in jail. Shocked by these conditions, SONG changes the course of his life, and takes on the case no one else will. This story is based on true events.” (Well Go USA)

 


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“It is not just about a desperate attorney. It is the portrait of Korean culture in its most aching and general aspect in the last 100 years. It depicts the most serious mental and social aspect of Koreans in terms of politics. To understand Korea, you need to be able to identify the different roles of the parties shown here. Mr. Song, the attorney, is the person who had the most typical life of 1970-1980s, as a social survivor in 1990s, and the political figure of 2000s. He is the late president of Korea who represented Korean minds in so many ways. If I have to pick the most Korean Korean in last decades out of media, he is the one. He is the very Korean boy, the young man, and mid-age uncle, and Korean system. This movie’s value lies not on anything in its plot, shooting, or else, but it is so accurate in depicting the thinking of Koreans in the last 30 years. It is so reliably and genuinely Korean, any human being can see that it transcends the boundary of a region and country. It is well-done without much exaggeration and over acting. A master-piece and the best actors.” (jong-bhak – IMDB.com)

 

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“Classic Hollywood meets South Korean history in The Attorney (Byeon-ho-in), a stirring, fact-based drama about a group of college students in the city of Busan in the early 1980s who were falsely arrested on charges of committing pro-communist seditious activities. They were tortured and subjected to a circus of a show trial.

 

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What makes writer-director Yang Woo-seok’s feature debut special is how it handles this shocking incident with verve, style, and humor. It infuses the spirit of American crowd-pleasers such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or To Kill a Mockingbird into an otherwise sober, critical dissection of a dark time in his nation’s history.” (philly.com)

 

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“It might have a generic title, but this Korean import combines its laughs and thrills into a powerful package. Based on a true story, the film follows the transformation of Song (Song Kang-ho) from an ambitious yet carefree tax attorney into a crusader for human rights when he takes the case of a teenager who was falsely accused of a crime, then abused by the criminal justice system. The film is able to transition seamlessly from comedy to drama, and although it threatens to become a heavy-handed message movie in the final act, a sharp performance by Song helps smooth out the rough patches.” (cinemalogue.com)

 

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“The Attorney” can be melodramatic, and first-time feature director Yang Woo-seok is not yet a singular filmmaker. But the movie is carried by its rousing pro- democracy message and a lively performance from the versatile leading man, whose credits include such notable Korean films as “The Host” and “Memories of Murder.” Song Kang-ho is well cast as an everyday champion, distinguished not by superpowers but by simple decency.” (washingtonpost.com)

 

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October 21, 2014

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