Heart Blackened (2017)

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Choi Min-Sik searches to uncover the truth in this Korean remake to a 2013 Chinese crime drama.

Yim Tae-San is a broker and influential businessman who has been highly respected with everyone around him. He finally has found love with pop singer Park Yu-Na and is set to be engaged to her much to the chagrin of his daughter Mi-Ra. Despite his daughter’s stance, Tae-San intends to be happy but all of that changes when Yu-Na is hit by a car in a horrific accident and to make matters worse, Mi-Ra is the prime suspect in what is now a homicide.

Tae-San hires young promising lawyer Choi Hee-Jung to become the defense attorney for Mi-Ra. Despite the hatred Mi-Ra had for Yu-Na, Mi-Ra believes she never would consider killing her. Tae-San, who also believed his daughter is innocent, decides to go his own route to find who did in fact murder Yu-Na. To accomplish this, he looks for help from a surveillance expert, Kim Dong-Myung, and Jung Seung-Gil, Yu-Na’s former manager who is also looking for answers. Will Choi and Tae-San be able to prove that Mi-Ra’s innocence or will a more horrible truth be revealed that will shake up the entire case?

This film, directed by Jung Ji-Woo, is a remake of a 2013 Chinese thriller entitled Silent Witness, and not having seen the original film, it would be unfair to do a comparison. However, for what it’s worth, this Korean take on that film, in which a powerful businessman tries to prove his daughter’s innocence when she is the prime suspect of her future stepmother’s murder.

The film plays out as a straight-forward crime drama with some intricate twists and turns that tend to prove an all important lesson about money and power. Choi Min-Sik is truly a driving force in the film as the embittered Tae-San, who despite having the money and power, practically loses one of the loves of his life and is in danger of losing the other love of his life. Usually in this situation, one would expect him to hire a top-ranking attorney but instead he hires a young naïve attorney who is smarter than he expects, as wonderfully played by Park Shin-Hye.

One of the more interesting takes in terms of characters is Lee Soo-Kyung’s character of Yim Mi-Ra, who is pretty much both a tortured soul and very arrogant princess. She has disdain for her father, perhaps for finding someone so fast as it is implied that perhaps Mi-Ra’s mother has passed away. Despite her misgivings, Mi-Ra seems to be the spoiled princess type who is more into partying hard rather than be someone who would kill someone.

In addition, the character of Kim Dong-Hyung, played by Ryu Jun-Yeol, makes for a pivotal supporting character in the film. He is more of a neutral party, willing to work both sides in order to uncover the truth of Yu-Na’s murder. As the character is the president of Yu-Na’s fan club, it seems only right that he does play out both sides just to search for the truth. And yet when the truth is revealed, it does bring a jaw-dropping that truly has to be seen to be believed.

Heart Blackened makes for a well-made crime thriller with some intricate twists and powerful performances from the cast. If you are a fan of crime dramas and trial movies, this should be on your list.

WFG RATING: A-

CJ Entertainment presents a Yong Film production. Director: Jung Ji-Woo. Producers: Kim Dong-Joo and Syd Lim. Writer: Jung Ji-Woo. Cinematography: Chung Chung-Hoon. Editing: Kim Sang-Beom.

Cast: Choi Min-Sik, Park Shin-Hye, Ryu Jun-Yeol, Lee Soo-Kyung, Lee Honey, Jo Han-Chul, Park Hae-Joon

The film will make its U.S. debut at the CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles and Buena Park in California on November 10.

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