Friday, April 17, 2015

Film Review: The Attorney (2013)

The Attorney (Review)
Yang Woo-suk/Song Kang-ho/2013
Where to watch:
Netflix Instant
Amazon Prime 

"It's one of the best Korean films in recent memory."

Money-hungry attorney Song Woo-suk (Song Kang-ho) suddenly finds himself defending suspected communist sympathizers...

The Attorney follows Song Woo-suk from the beginning of his search for riches. Off the bat, the film drops you as Song Woo-suk resigns as a judge and starts a real estate registry business. When the money dries up, like a true entrepreneur, Woo-suk moves on and starts working with taxes. Eventually, about an hour into the film, Song Woo-suk is brought into the communist case when Park Jin-woo is arrested – Jin-woo being the son of Choi Soon-ae (Kim Young-ae), a restaurant owner Woo-suk highly respects and owes a lot to. From there on, Woo-suk fights against the injustice in court filled with deception and twists. It all leads to a great ending.

I loved The Attorney. It was a fantastic and insightful experience. Although I wish there was a little more relationship between Woo-suk and his family, the film does well in building its characters. In turn, this feels much more human – something you can connect to. I loved watching Woo-suk's rise, it was filled with effective humor and a sincere pinch of motivation. The court case, which takes up the second half of the film, was tense and even thrilling – more thrilling than most traditional thrillers nowadays.

I had beads of sweat on my brow as I anticipated the deception – you know it's going to happen, you're just anxiously waiting for the snake to strike. All-in-all, the film is simply a very effective drama, it's very powerful and riveting. Also, although I take it with a grain of salt, The Attorney is an insightful look at the issue at hand; furthermore, it's a film that makes you want to learn more about the issue, more about Korean history, especially for those, like myself, who aren't too familiar.

Song Kang-ho is fantastic. He's part of the reason the film feels so human. His performance is so lively and real, it's raw and powerful. It's almost too difficult to explain his unbelievable energy and real-person charisma. Kim Young-ae is also amazing with a very emotional performance. The entire cast is great, really. The film is shot very well. The camerawork, especially during the court scenes, is great. The music is subtle but effective, I especially enjoyed the ending track – it really matches the tone of the film. Director Yang Woo-suk crafts a magnificent drama through his consistent and effective direction. I hope to see more from Woo-suk in the near future.

Overall, The Attorney is a fantastic film. It's a very powerful and tense drama. It has interesting characters, an engaging issue, and fine direction. The humor, the drama, and the tension blend together to create a balanced, consistent, and enjoyable experience. It makes this two-hour feature feel like a walk in the park - a walk you actually want to take. I strongly recommend it. It's one of the best Korean films in recent memory.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence, including some scenes of torture.

No comments:

Post a Comment