Sunday, July 20, 2008

Seven Days (Korea 2007)

I know what you're thinking, "Hey! I recognize that lady in the poster! Isn't she in that show Lost?". Why yes...yes she is. Seven Days (세븐 데이즈) stands as Yoon-jin Kim's return to Korean cinema after becoming a break-through star with the previously mentioned hit television series. Sure it's another movie about child abduction, and we all know that's nothing new, but it's still somehow entertaining.

Superstar attorney Ji-yeon Yoo (Yoon-jin Kim) never loses a case and has become something of a media sensation because of it. Her lawfirm takes on all the big cases because their confidance in Ji-yeon is unwavering. Seeing as how she takes on so many cases and is almost always working, this leaves her very little quality with her seven year old daughter Eunyoung (Ra-hye Lee). Eunyoung really wants her mom to particpate with her in her schools mother-daughter relay race, and Ji-yeon promises to be there. On the day of the event, everything seems to be going according to plan, until Ji-yeon finishes her winning run only to find that Eunyoung is nowhere to be found. Ji-Yeon, naturally, contacts the police and prepares a large sum of money as payment for what she assumes is a ransom situation. However, the kidnapper interestingly enough isn't after money, but makes a demand for Ji-yeon to use her outstanding skills as an attorney to free someone on death row. Not understanding the details of the case she's dealing with, it doesn't take Ji-Yeon long to agree to the terms as she only has seven days (hence the title) to prove the inmates innocence. She gets her detective friend Seong-yeol Kim (Hee-soon Park) to help her in her quest to find her daughter while she tries to focus on the court case as well. As you can imagine, it's a race against time to get her daughter back before the case is closed for good.

My interest to see Seven Days stemmed from the fact that I'm a big fan of Lost and I wanted to see Yoon-jin Kim's return to the movies as the main star. I'm pleased to say that she puts in a wonderful performance, showing a gamut of emotions I can only imagine one goes through when faced with a nightmare scenario such as this. In fact, I don't appear to be the only one that feels this way as Yoon-jin later went on to win the Best Actress award at the 45th annual Daejong (Grand Bell) festival in South Korea. Hee-soon Park, her "sidekick" for most of the movie, is just one of those guys that you really love to stand behind because he means well in his intentions and looks cool while doing it. The child-abduction formula is given a mild breath of fresh-air thanks to an interesting plot-twist that doesn't have anything to do with money. However, there's not all praise to be given here as writer Je-goo Yeon, while doing alot of things right, also tries to cram way too many story elements into a movie that's based around limited time. This can be annoying when you wish the film would just focus on the main plot of Ji-yeon and Seong-yeol getting Eunyong back. Director Sin-yeon Won does an excellent job at making everything look incredibly polished, in a Hollywood blockbuster way, and that look fits the bill just nicely.

So if nothing else, Seven Days proves that Yoon-jin Kim really is a great actress that is more than capable of being an engaging lead and that Korean audiences will embrace her with open arms. After this performance, I'll be more than happy to join them. (Lee)

Grade: B-


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