This week’s Film Friday features ‘The Attorney’ (2013). New director, Woo-seok Yang, made a ground-breaking debut with this court-drama, with intense characterisation and an enlightening insight into the Korean justice system.

Song Woo-seok, played fantastically by Song Kang-ho, is an unlikely hero in this arresting courtroom melodrama.  The protagonist is a struggling family man who seeks security for his family by studying to become a lawyer. Money and success come naturally to him as he begins to shape his future as a real estate attorney.  He is looked down upon by his colleagues as he qualified without attending college or law school. Motivated by morality and family values, Song Woo-seok becomes an accidental hero. The narrative shifts from comical to significant as Song Woo-seok is presented with a decision to represent an old friend in a case against the government. The intrusive nature of politics in this film presents itself in the second half as we witness courtroom melodrama.  Song Woo-seok delivers an increasingly passionate performance as the film enters the courtroom. His character development is moving, touching and ultimately, inspirational. It challenges the depths of characterisation and moral values.

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The film, set in the late 1970s into the early 1980s, is typically vintage with the influence of the soundtrack and the stylistic cinematography and costume. The film is extremely reminiscent of South Korea’s communist past with the interjection of political and social regime.  It is truly a masterpiece.

It won eleven out of the twenty-four well deserved nominations a year after release. ‘The Attorney’ was crowned Best Film at the Baek Sang Film Awards (2014), and also took home Best Director (Woo-seok Yang) and the Daesang Grand Award in the same night! More impressively, ‘The Attorney’ scored big at the Blue Dragon Awards (2014), snatching the prize of Best Film, Best Actor (Song Kang-ho) and Best Supporting Actress (Yeong-ae Kim) after a total of eleven nominations that night and beating some of the top grossing films that year.

Check out the trailer below! It is a must-see film for anyone looking for a less typical South Korean film.

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