Thursday, December 18, 2008

Seven Days (Won Sin-Yeon, 2007)

Kim Jun-Yin as the lawyer trying to save her daughter in Won Sin-Yeon's Seven Days (2007).

Lately, I've been lucky with the Korean films I watch. Usually I expect to be disappointed, and most of the time I am, especially when it comes to thrillers. Seven Days did not disappoint though.

The story is about a successful lawyer, Yu Ji-Yeon, who is also a single mother. One day while participating in a race at her daughter's school, her daughter disappears. Soon enough, Ji-Yeon is contacted by someone who is demanding money for her daughter's return. Later, it turns out that the real ransom is arranging the release of a killer facing the death penalty. Ji-Yeon takes the case and along with her corrupted detective friend she starts to uncover the truth about the murder that put the man she is trying to free on death row. But they only have seven days until the trial.

The plot has a lot of twists and turns, but basically it's kept simple, which is what makes the film so successful. Leaving out romance and overly sentimental drama that is so common in Korean films makes the focus stay on the chase against time. It does come close to slowing down too much a few times during the second half, and the jury is still out on the ending, which works in some ways but just seems a bit too contrieved. Overall though, it is a thrilling ride.