My education of Korean cinema is limited to Chan Wook Park’s Vengeance trilogy [ Read my review of the Vengeance trilogy]. Of course, besides that K-movies are known worldwide for their indulgence with romance and rom-coms. However, director Shin-yeon Won’s crime thriller ‘Seven Days’ starring Kim Yunjin [ of Lost fame ] is a gloomy and dark tale revealed in a who-dunnit fashion. But the after effect of the movie is more thought provoking. And that is where Seven Days scores. It is a movie beyond the 125 minutes that it plays. Yes it is a relatively long movie, but the tension never loses grip and when the climax hits you, you leave still trying to fit together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.
The movie begins with criminal lawyer Yu Ji-yeon’s daughter getting kidnapped. The ransom demanded by the kidnapper is to defend and prove a rapist-murderer as innocent within the next seven days. The only ally that she gets is a cop friend while the murder victim’s mother and a corrupt would-be politician want the murderer to be executed. What follows next is a mind-boggling list of puzzles being revealed clue after clue as the body count keeps increasing. And wait till the end when you get the mother of all twists (pun intended, to understand it, watch the flick)
So what did I like about the movie?
A list of many things. Kim Yunjin playing the desperate mother trying to compose herself proffessionally to achieve what has been asked of her to deliver is really painful. The desperation of a mother to keep her daughter alive by proving a criminal as innocent gets a bit too far fetched. And you start questioning about why did it take so long for the loophole in the legal system to be revealed. I guess the judge wasn’t conversant enough. But ignoring that minor loophole, the rest of the movie is a roller coaster ride.
The title credits reminded me of Se7en and even CSI. Skin scraped and supervised under UV light, stitches and autopsy, finger-prints and of course dried blood on skin. This movie does not hold back at all. So if you are easily disturbed by such visuals, do have someone to assist you. But again, this is no Saw. The cinematography is a treat to watch and the snazzy editing makes the narrative absolutely crispy.
At the end of it, you do try to question the rationality of all the pain and toil of the kidnapping [ A plot point which I am not going to reveal ]. It is a genre-bound thriller nonetheless which retains its charm and positive tone [ unlike Se7en's climax] through the radiant charisma of Kim. She effortlessly carries the film on her shoulders and actually made the film more worthwhile. Not to forget the consistently performing supporting cast of the victim’s mother and the murderer himself. So if you expect a slick Aisan thriller, Seven Days is clever and yet sometimes dumb, but definitely entertaining cinema. Do watch it, at least for Kim Yun-jin.