Korean director Jin-pyo Park's quietly devastating crime drama, inspired by a notorious, real-life kidnapping, focuses on the gradual disintegration of the victim's parents, a popular TV personality and his deeply religious wife.
1991, Seoul: DEC-TV news anchor Kyung-bae Han (Kyung-gu Sol) is a national celebrity who made his name as a crusading reporter and ends each broadcast with editorial remarks about some pressing social issue. His current topic is the rising crime rate, and he doesn't hesitate to take the police, politicians and even the president to task for failing to keep honest citizens safe from criminals. Han's pretty, pious, stay-at-home wife, Ji-sun (Nam-ju Kim), devotes herself to church work and trying to slim down their pudgy son, Sang-woo, a needy child whose two great loves are candy and Marvel superheroes.
And then Sang-woo vanishes, abducted from the playground in front of his own luxury high-rise apartment building. His kidnapper calls to demand $100,000 ransom and warns that if the Hans call the police, Sang-woo will die. Kyung-bae Han complies, but Ji-sun goes to the authorities, the first of many wedges the kidnapper drives between them. His phone calls send the Hans — and the police — scurrying from one end of Seoul to the other, digging through trash cans for notes, sweating through snarled traffic to make arbitrary rendezvous deadlines and desperately grasping at every shred of hope that Sang-woo is still alive. Ji-sun falls back on her faith, only to find that it isn't up to the challenge of compensating for the loss of her child. Kyung-bae is forced to rely on the very police he's publicly excoriated and stripped of every last pretension to authority and control. "He's not the way he seems on TV," remarks a detective as Kyung-bae begins to crumble beneath the remorseless pressure.
The story ends 44 torturous days later, but be warned: The film offers no reassuring closure. Like the real-life case on which it's based, the 1991 kidnapping of 9-year-old Hyung-ho Lee, it staggers to a deeply frustrating conclusion. Park ends with recordings of the actual kidnapper's voice and a plea to anyone who might recognize it to come forward; to date, no one has.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 2007
- Rating: NR
- Review: Korean director Jin-pyo Park's quietly devastating crime drama, inspired by a notorious, real-life kidnapping, focuses on the gradual disintegration of the victim's parents, a popular TV personality and his deeply religious wife. 1991, Seoul: DEC-TV new… (more)