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Korean Film Council www. The usual suspects critical film analysis from the Heart South Korean film companies have been accused in recent years of rehashing the same old storylines and ideas. Such criticism might be justified, but on rare occasions, something truly unusual does still slip through the cracks.
A quick look at the synopsis of Sori: Voice From the Heart confirms this. S19 later to be renamed 'Sori' is a US-built spy satellite that as the film opens is orbiting high above the earth. Although officially it's just an ordinary telecommunications satellite, in reality it's no such thing.
Equipped with cutting-edge AI and voice recognition technology, it has been secretly tasked with tracking all phone conversations taking place down on earth.
But eventually, the self-aware satellite figures out that the conversations it records are being used to target drone strikes in which innocent civilians are among the dead and wounded.
Meanwhile, Hae-gwan Lee Sung-min is a middle-aged Korean man whose life has been shattered by the disappearance of his daughter. For over a decade, he has been wandering the country in search of her. Everyone he knows insists that she was killed in a tragic subway fire in Daegu, even though her body was never recovered.
The subway fire is a real-life event from that was incorporated into the film's plot. But Hae-gwan insists that she ran away and is living somewhere on her own.
Thus it is that Sori and Hae-gwan end up meeting on a deserted island beach off the Korean coast. Sori needs Hae-gwan's help to move around on land, particularly given that the machine's ultimate goal is to go to the Middle East.
Hae-gwan, for his part, realizes that Sori's technology could help him find his daughter.
The two become an unlikely team, searching across Korea and into past telephone records for a woman who seems to have vanished into thin air. Voice From the Heart is a film filled with surprises. One of the surprises is that a story so eccentric and outlandish should end up working so well.
It's true that sometimes, such as in the climactic sequence, the film spins a bit out of control. Scenes involving US or Korean intelligence figures can also feel silly at times.
Nonetheless, for all its shifts in tone, the emotions in this film feel real. That sense of authenticity comes from the fact that the filmmakers are pushing boundaries from a creative standpoint, and also because second-time director Lee Ho-jae The Scam proves willing to tackle difficult emotional issues, such as grief and loss, in a direct way.
There's a genuine beating heart at the center of this film. Another surprise is that a film featuring a banged-up spy satellite as its co-star should make for such engaging drama. Of course, those familiar with actor Lee Sung-min Broken, Venus Talkwho after a long career as a supporting actor is now emerging into the spotlight, might be less surprised.
Lee has tremendous range as an actor, including numerous roles as calculating villains The Piper, A Violent Prosecutorbut he seems most effective in roles like this where he portrays an ordinary person dealing with ordinary if very tragic life experiences.
Other characters in the film are more colorful, from Lee Honey's role as a gifted, bilingual and compassionate scientist, to the more broadly comic performance turned in by Lee Hee-jun as her superior. The latter excels at playing slightly deranged figures, such as the sex-starved Chang-wook in Haemoo or the scheming Hook in A Melody to Remember.
When you look at all the pieces that make up Sori: Voice From the Heart, it seems inconceivable that they might all fit together to make a coherent movie. But somehow, director Lee manages to keep everything from flying apart, and the result is a truly original and engaging story.
The police and various new agencies attempt to unlock the mystery behind the circumstances in which a number of people, including Hye-ri's cameraman assistant Seok-hoon Lee Hyun-wook, The Targetwere brutally murdered at an isolated island, leaving Hye-ri as the only living witness.
The key evidence is the interview footage left in Seok-hoon's camcorder, smashed but recovered later. As the main body of the film reconstructs the investigating reporter's attempts to penetrate the veil of secrecy that seems to permeate the island community, we learn that the island's main source of income, a salt harvesting business owned by the Heo family Choi Il-hwa, New Worldas the serpentine father and Ryoo Joon-yeol, Socialphobia, as the callous, violent son might have been practicing modern-day slave labor.
Hye-ri repeatedly approaches one of the salt-field workers, Sang-ho Bai Song-woo, Veteranwho seems to be mentally disadvantaged and shows signs of severe physical abuse, and tries to get him to acknowledge on camera the horrid treatment he has been subject to.
However, a check with Sang-ho's missing-person status leads to a shocking revelation for which neither Hye-ri nor Seok-hoon is prepared. No Tomorrow is loosely based on an actual case in which a Cholla Province saltern owner was accused in of keeping dozens of workers, some suffering from mental and physical disabilities, under inhumanly abusive, slave-like conditions for years.
Co-written and directed by Lee Ji-Seung, who had previously helmed the low-rent revenge thriller AzoomaNo Tomorrow starts off like a work-print for a "human rights"-oriented TV documentary, with Park Hyo-joo as Hye-ri enduring frustrations and hostilities from the island residents yet heroically persisting to obtain testimonies and evidence for the abuses visited on the salt field workers, especially Sang-ho, but abruptly transforms itself into a gory slasher with a somewhat predictable "plot twist.
Except for occasional, air-clearing shots of beautiful beachfronts and surfs, everything Seok-hoon films looks suitably cruddy, grimy and oppressive: As for the plot twist, while it does rescue the film to a certain degree from sinking into the swamp of torpor, it again reveals director Lee's inability to fully work out moral calculus of his project as was the case with Azooma, one of those ethical-dilemmas-be-damned Korean thrillers that think they are scoring "progressive" political points, endorsing fantastically gory vengeances by the allegedly "powerless" victims.
It did not seem to have occurred to him that screwing the film's trajectory like that in effect degrades the meaning of Hye-ri's hard work in the first half, reducing her to a pawn in the filmmaker's one-upmanship against the viewer's expectations.
Had Lee worked further on the screenplay, introducing more complexities and potentially contradictory features to the characters of Hye-ri, Sang-ho and the saltern owners, and explored with restraint the dynamics arising out of these characters with different social expectations, values and objectives, No Tomorrow still might not have worked, but would at least deserved greater respect.Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and Its Analysis at caninariojana.com Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users.
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