- Asian Cinema


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Link to YesAsia

Seven Days
Sebeun deijeu (2007). Directed by Won Shin-yeon. Cast: Kim Yun-jin, Lee Ra-hye, Park Heui-sun, Choi Myeong-su.

After having shot to world-wide fame with the American TV series "Lost", Kim Yun-jin returns to her Korean roots, in this twisty original take on the familiar genre of the courtroom drama.

Yoo Ji-Yeon (Kim) is a successful defence attorney who's never lost a case. She's also a single mother and her only true treasure in life is her 8-year old daughter Eun-yeong. After participating in an event at Eun-yeong's school Ji-Yeon suddenly loses track of her offspring. Eun-yeong has been kidnapped. Soon thereafter Ji-Yeon is contacted on the phone and a distorted voice tells her she must take on a convicted killer's appeal case if she wants to see her daughter again. The man she must defend, Jeong Cheol-jin aka CJ, was found guilty of murdering a young woman and is facing the death penalty.

With the help of a disgraced cop, under investigation by Internal Affairs, and pushed almost to her breaking point, Ji-Yeon attempts to break the case. In a mad dash against the clock they must find some kind of evidence previously overlooked, and save Eun-yeong's life.

"Seven Days" succeeds in combining the courtroom drama/criminal investigation with the kidnapping thriller sub-genre. Even though the film by no means reinvents the wheel it delivers two intense hours of solid entertainment that moves so fast you never get a chance to realize how contrived the whole thing is. The viewer has no time to consider how the plot clashes with reality in the midst of corrupt lawyers, menacing gangsters, gruesome deaths and a relentless deadline - which is probably for the best.

The style resembles Tony Scott's "Man on Fire", but instead of being reduced to a gimmick by a confused director (which is often the case) it underlines and emphasizes the drama beautifully.

Kim Yun-jin gives a stellar performance in the demanding lead role. She shifts effortlessly between sobbing mom and relentless lawyer and is equally convincing as both.

Okay, I'll admit I lost track of the plot in the last half hour, when the twist-ratio exploded, but I don't blame the film for that. Maybe the subtitles are to blame, they don't seem up to scratch on the Korean DVD.

A good solid entertaining film, nothing more. And that's perfectly okay.

David Bjerre
April 19, 2007