South Korea’s government turned upside down thirty years ago and this film depicts the events of what had transpired during that period.
Director Park, a defector from North Korea, has been hired by the South Korean government to apprehend and interrogate any suspicious persons who may be accused of coming from the North. However, when 22-year old college student Park Jong-Chul is found dead during his interrogation, Park finds himself in a possible world of trouble. He decides on behalf of the government to cover up the student’s death and make it look like it was a heart attack.
Prosecutor Choi finds himself under constant pressure from Park’s men to authorize cremation without an autopsy, which is clearly against the law. Having already suffered a major setback within the company, Choi decides he will do things right and investigate what really had happened. Meanwhile, Kim Jung-Nam, a potential whistleblower on the excessive force of Park and his men, is hiding out and looks for clues as to what has happened to Park. When the media gets wind of the events surrounding Park’s death, university students begin to protest for many days and as a result, history is destined to change in South Korea.
Based on actual events that occurred in 1987 that culminated in a major change in the government of South Korea, this film uses both historical facts and fictionalized drama to bring together a story about what is now known as the June Democratic Movement, which resulted in the end of then-President Chun Doo-Hwan’s military regime and use of excessive force for interrogations. The script, written by Kim Kyung-Chan, brings together a series of interweaving stories from the point of views from both sides of the spectrum.
The primary focus of the film is that of defected Director Park, played in a very powerful performance by Kim Yoon-Seok. Park is truly seen as someone who is determined to keep his loyalty to President Chun and will do whatever it takes and that is meant in a literal sense, to make sure that the death of Park Jong-Chul is covered up as well as ensuring that as the mastermind behind it all due to the nature of the regime, that there are no loose ends. The level of power that Park intends to keep is shown in a very emotional scene where he threatens one of his own men, who serves as a scapegoat, by threatening to make the scapegoat’s family North Korean spies and executing them.
Ha Jung-Woo gives a pretty good performance as the embittered Choi, who resorts to always drinking as a sign of regret for a past mistake which nearly cost him his job. When the opportunity arises in Park Jong-Chul’s death, he finds redemption by doing things the right way despite constant pressure from Park’s men, who are depicted in the film as thugs whose actions are no better than common criminals or gangsters. Yoo Hae-Jin and Kim Tae-Ri make up the third subplot as a benevolent prison guard and his college bound niece, who are also affected by the events as the guard knows and helps whistleblower Kim Jung-Nam with the niece reluctantly finding herself involved, especially after meeting Lee Han-Yeol, who would go on to be the “face” of the movement, played by Kang Dong-Won.
A very powerful film with great performances and a mix of interweaving stories, 1987: When the Day Comes brings to life the shocking events that would lead into the changing of the guard forever in South Korea.
WFG RATING: A
CJ Entertainment presents a Woojeung Film production. Director: Jang Joon-Hwan. Producer: Jung Won-Chan. Writer: Kim Kyung-Chun. Cinematography: Kim Woo-Hyung. Editing: Yang Jin-Mo.
Cast: Kim Yoon-Seok, Ha Jung-Woo, Yoo Hae-Jin, Kim Tae-Ri, Yeo Jin-Goo, Kang Dong-Won, Choi Kwong-Il, Park Hee-Soon, Lee Hee-Joon.
The film will make its U.S. debut at the CGV Cinemas in Buena Park, CA and Los Angeles, CA on January 12, 2018.