The Attorney

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The Attorney
The Attorney poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Hangul 변호인
Hanja 辯護人
Revised Romanization Byeonhoin
McCune–Reischauer Pyŏnhoin
Directed by Yang Woo-suk
Produced by Choi Jeong-ho
Choi Jae-won
Written by Yang Woo-suk
Yoon Hyeon-ho
Starring Song Kang-ho
Kim Young-ae
Oh Dal-su
Im Si-wan
Kwak Do-won
Music by Jo Yeong-wook
Cinematography Lee Tae-yoon
Edited by Kim Sang-bum
Kim Jae-bum
Production
company
Withus Film
Distributed by Next Entertainment World
Release date
  • December 18, 2013 (2013-12-18)
Running time
127 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office US$74.1 million[1]

The Attorney (Hangul변호인; RRByeonhoin) is a 2013 South Korean courtroom drama film directed and co-written by Yang Woo-suk, in his directorial debut (Yang was previously a film producer and webtoon author).[2][3][4][5] With 11,375,954 tickets sold and a revenue of ₩82.9 billion, The Attorney became the 8th best-selling Korean film of all time, and the second highest-grossing Korean film of 2013.[6][7]

It was inspired by the real-life "Burim case" of 1981, when during the authoritarian Chun Doo-hwan regime, 22 students, teachers and office workers who belonged to a book club were arrested without warrants on fabricated charges that they were North Korea sympathizers. Roh Moo-hyun, then a tax lawyer from Busan, formed a legal team with his allies (including Moon Jae-in and Kim Kwang-il) to defend the arrested individuals against the government. After the case, Roh became an influential human rights lawyer throughout the 1980s; he later entered politics and became the 16th president of South Korea. Later, Moon Jae-in also became the 19th president of South Korea. [8][9][10]

Plot

In 1978, a former judge named Song moves to Busan to start his own law firm. The other lawyers look down on him because he had passed the bar-examination without ever going to university. Soon, however, he becomes rich from accepting the cases which his colleagues shun, even though they are the most profitable, such as real estate and taxation. Meanwhile, a detective named Cha is given orders from the highest levels of leadership to purge Busan of communists, even if it means resorting to fabrication. A medical officer from a nearby military base, Lt Yoon, is sent to oversee the health of the victims whom Cha's agents will torture.

Years later, in 1981, Song is enjoying his new-found fame and respect, and he even buys a sail-boat with the hope of competing in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. One night, while dining at his favorite restaurant with his high school classmates, he gets into a fight with a journalist named Lee who sympathizes with the frequent student protests, and who claims that the mass media is inherently deceptive. A short time later, a high-school student named Park, the son of the restaurant's owner, goes missing. Choi, the mother, frantically searches for him for nearly two months, even closing the restaurant, before it is revealed that Park and some other students are to face a trial for sedition.

Realizing that the students' confessions were extracted using torture, Song agrees to take the case. At the trial, he notices a number of violations of the Korean constitution, but is told by the prosecutors and the judge that normal laws don't apply in cases of national security. The prosecutors begin by arguing that the students studied a book called What Is History? by EH Carr. In response, Song gets a note from the British consulate attesting that EH Carr was a British ambassador, not a communist ideologue. Song is stunned, however, when Cha openly lies on the stand and denies that the defendants were tortured, claiming rather brazenly that all of their bruises and other injuries were self-inflicted.

A breakthrough happens when Lt Yoon agrees to testify. Lt Yoon confesses to the court that the defendants were tortured and is willing to describe the methods of their torture in detail. However, Cha reports the situation to his leadership, and they are able to frame Lt Yoon for desertion, thereby nullifying his testimony and sending him off to prison. The case is lost but the judge offers leniency by giving the students 2 years in prison at most.

By 1987, Song is a changed man and has become a protest leader himself. One day he is arrested for his activities and charged with sedition. To his amazement, 99 out of the 142 lawyers in Busan attend his hearing and express their support. Even so, free speech and the rule of law remain controversial subjects in Korea up to the present day.

Cast

Box office

Within ten days of its release, The Attorney had been seen by over 3.4 million people in South Korea.[12] By the end of the year it became the 8th best-selling local movie of all time.[6]

It reached 7.8 million admissions in 18 days, making it the fastest Korean film to pass 7 million admissions since the 2012 film The Thieves, which did it in 13 days.[13][14][15] It became the tenth movie to break the 10 million admissions mark in Korea.[9][16][17][18]

The film grossed a total of ₩82,880,761,300 in South Korea, with 11,375,954 tickets sold.[7][19]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2014
8th Asian Film Awards[20]
Best Actor Song Kang-ho Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Young-ae Nominated
Best Newcomer Im Si-wan Nominated
16th Udine Far East Film Festival[21]
Black Dragon Audience Award The Attorney Won
First Runner-up, Golden Mulberry Award Won
19th Chunsa Film Art Awards[22]
Best Actor Song Kang-ho Won
Best New Director Yang Woo-suk Won
50th Baeksang Arts Awards[23]
Grand Prize (Daesang) for Film Song Kang-ho Won
Best Film The Attorney Won
Best Actor Song Kang-ho Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Kwak Do-won Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Young-ae Nominated
Best New Director Yang Woo-suk Won
Best New Actor Im Si-wan Nominated
Best Screenplay Yang Woo-suk, Yoon Hyeon-ho Nominated
14th Director's Cut Awards
Best Actor Song Kang-ho Won
Best New Director Yang Woo-suk Won
Best Producer Choi Jae-won Won
23rd Buil Film Awards[24]
Best Film The Attorney Nominated
Best Director Yang Woo-suk Nominated
Best Actor Song Kang-ho Won
Best Supporting Actor Kwak Do-won Won
Best Supporting Actress Kim Young-ae Won
Best New Director Yang Woo-suk Nominated
Best New Actor Im Si-wan Nominated
Best Screenplay Yang Woo-suk, Yoon Hyeon-ho Nominated
Buil Reader's Jury Award The Attorney Won
34th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards[25]
Best Supporting Actor Kwak Do-won Won
Best New Director Yang Woo-suk Won
Critics' Top 10 The Attorney Won
51st Grand Bell Awards[26][27]
Best Film The Attorney Nominated
Best Actor Song Kang-ho Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Kwak Do-won Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Young-ae Won
Best New Director Yang Woo-suk Won
Best New Actor Im Si-wan Nominated
Best Screenplay Yang Woo-suk, Yoon Hyeon-ho Won
Best Cinematography Lee Tae-yoon Nominated
Best Editing Kim Sang-bum, Kim Jae-bum Nominated
Best Art Direction Ryu Seong-hee Nominated
Best Lighting Oh Seung-chul Nominated
Hana Financial Group Star Award
(Popularity Award)
Im Si-wan Won
35th Blue Dragon Film Awards[28][29][30][31]
Best Film The Attorney Won
Best Actor Song Kang-ho Won
Best Supporting Actor Kwak Do-won Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Young-ae Won
Best New Director Yang Woo-suk Nominated
Best New Actor Im Si-wan Nominated
Best Screenplay Yang Woo-suk, Yoon Hyeon-ho Nominated
Best Cinematography Lee Tae-yoon Nominated
Best Editing Kim Sang-bum, Kim Jae-bum Nominated
Best Lighting Oh Seung-chul Nominated
Best Music Jo Yeong-wook Nominated
Popular Star Award Im Si-wan Won
Korea Film Actor's Association Awards
Korea's Top Film Star Song Kang-ho Won
Popularity Award Im Si-wan Won
9th Max Movie Awards
Best Actor Song Kang-ho Won
Best Supporting Actor Kwak Do-won Won
Best Supporting Actress Kim Young-ae Won
Best New Actor Im Si-wan Won
3rd Marie Claire Film Awards
Won

References

  1. ^ http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/films/index/filmsView.jsp?movieCd=20134803
  2. ^ Jeong Ji-won (20 January 2014). "A most unlikely hit-maker". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Lee Yong-cheol (10 February 2014). "YANG Woo-suk, Director of THE ATTORNEY: "This Film is about the collision of individuals' different beliefs."". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Song Soon-jin (21 November 2013). "Press Conference Held for SONG Kang-ho's THE ATTORNEY". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Jung Hyun-mok (21 January 2015). "Smash-hit films criticized for political leanings". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Pierce Conran (6 February 2014). "THE ATTORNEY Climbs to 8th on All Time Chart". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "The Best Selling Films of 2013". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Lee Yong-cheol (9 December 2013). "In Focus: The Attorney". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Lee Hoo-nam; Lim Ju-ri; Lee Yoon-seok (20 January 2014). "Attorney a huge success, but blurs facts". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Ko Dong-hwan (22 January 2014). "Victims of The Attorney visit their forlorn hero". The Korea Times. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Lee Jung-hyun (30 December 2013). "SONG Kang-ho in THE ATTORNEY: "It Is the Film and the Truth that Count, not the Debate and Politics"". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Chung Hyun-chae (27 December 2013). "The actor of his generation: How Song Kang-ho ruled Korean cinema in 2013". The Korea Times. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Yun Suh-young (6 January 2014). "The Attorney shaping up to be historic hit". The Korea Times. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  14. ^ Lee Sun-min (7 January 2014). "The Attorney continues strong run". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Attorney Goes from Strength to Strength". The Chosun Ilbo. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  16. ^ Claire Lee (19 January 2014). "Roh nostalgia shakes up box office". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "The Attorney Hit 10 Million Viewer Mark". The Chosun Ilbo. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  18. ^ Pierce Conran (21 January 2014). "THE ATTORNEY Crosses 10 Million Viewers in 33 Days". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  19. ^ Stephen Cremin (8 July 2014). "Market share of South Korean films plummets". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  20. ^ June Kim (31 March 2014). "5 Korean Films at the 8th Asian Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  21. ^ Pierce Conran (9 May 2014). "THE ATTORNEY Takes Black Dragon Award in Udine". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  22. ^ Kwon Ji-youn (20 March 2014). "Actor Song Kang-ho wins Chunsa award". The Korea Times. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  23. ^ Pierce Conran (29 May 2014). "SONG Kang-ho Picks Up Grand Prize at PaekSang Arts Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  24. ^ June Kim (6 October 2014). "SHIM Eun-kyung, SONG Kang-ho, HONG Sangsoo and ROARING CURRENTS Win at 23rd Buil Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  25. ^ Pierce Conran (4 November 2014). "Top Honors for HILL OF FREEDOM at 34th Korean Film Critics Association Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-11-08. 
  26. ^ June Kim (12 November 2014). "The 51st Daejong Film Awards Nominations Announced". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-11-12. 
  27. ^ Conran, Pierce (24 November 2014). "ROARING CURRENTS Tops 51st Daejong Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-11-25. 
  28. ^ "The Attorney Sweeps Blue Dragon Film Awards". The Chosun Ilbo. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  29. ^ June Kim (18 December 2014). "35th Blue Dragon Awards Names THE ATTORNEY Best Film". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  30. ^ Kevin Ma (18 December 2014). "Attorney wins four at Blue Dragon Awards". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  31. ^ Nemo Kim (17 December 2014). "The Attorney Takes 4 Trophies at Korea's Blue Dragon Awards". Variety. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 

External links

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