NewsLetter DailyWeekly
My HanCinema | Sign up, Why ? Your E-mail   Password    Auto| Help
HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and Drama Database, discover the South Korean cinema and drama diversity Contact HanCinema HanCinema on TwitterFaceBook HanCinema PageHanCinema on Twitter

'The Client' is deceptive, smart

2011/09/22 Source

Actors Jang Hyuk, left, and Ha Jung-woo star in a scene from Korea's first legal thriller, "The Client". The film opens in theaters Sept. 29. / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

By Lee Hyo-won

A man is suspected of killing his wife. The cadaver is however missing and solid evidence is impossible to procure. A powerful prosecutor and notoriously competent attorney engage in a fierce battle of wits to determine whether the man is guilty or innocent, with nothing but their own sense of conviction and validation.

"The Client", the country's first legal thriller, is propelled mostly by heavy legal terminology-ridden dialogue inside a glossy, wood-paneled courtroom. Unlike most variations in the genre it rules out the possibility of multiple suspects and focuses on the 50-50 chance of a man's culpability#.

There are many things at stake as the dramatic tension could be compromised by the wordy script and a predictable ending. The film's thrill factor all depends on how far it keeps the audience confused of the suspect's innocence.

Emerging young director Sohn Young-sung largely succeeds in this respect. He makes an impressive foray into the genre by offering a deviously deceptive story full of thrills and chills, all the while without losing a sense of humor.

Heartthrob Jang Hyuk breaks away from his usual action-packed roles as the mellow and mysterious Han Cheol-min. He returns from a business trip for his wedding anniversary. He enters his house with a bouquet of flowers in hand but the police, rather than his wife, greet him with an arrest warrant. The body is nowhere to be found but the amount of blood in the bedroom makes the possibility of her survival virtually impossible.

Prolific actor Ha Jung-woo plays the suave, smooth-talking star attorney Kang Seong-heui. Though he finds his client baffling and difficult to trust, Kang delves into the case with a determination to win. He ingeniously finds one piece of evidence after another that supports Han's innocence and becomes increasingly confident about defending his client.

Park Hee-soon, best known for scruffy, hardball characters, adopts a surprisingly cold facade as the merciless prosecutor. A man of power and unwavering conviction, Ahn Min-ho never for a moment doubts Han's guilt and acts quickly to turn the tables on Kang.

Not surprisingly, Ahn and Kang turn out to be longtime buddies-cum-rivals. The story becomes multi-textured as it explores how personal ambition can conflict with one's sense of justice. But the strength of the film is that is refrains from doing the most obvious, and keeps a cool, distanced observation of ulterior motives and instead focuses on harnessing these factors to confuse the viewer about the truth in the case.

The story unfolds mostly from the point of view of Kang, who at first appears to be a superficial young man to whom the entire incident is just a game he must win. Ahn on the other hand immediately invites one's trust but the story begins freewheeling down a rabbit hole as it is revealed that Ahn holds a deep grudge against Han from the past.

Jang, as the enigmatic suspect, appears innocent one moment and completely guilty the next, crowning all the defining moments of the mystery thriller. In addition to the three irreplaceable lead actors, a supporting cast of A-list talent adds to the film's impeccable production values, from funnyman Sung Dong-il and veteran actor-turned-politician Choi Jong-won to actress Yoo Da-in, the unforgettable heroine of "Re-encounter", as the late wife.

A unique aspect of the film is that it features a jury. Though "The Client" is the first legal drama to feature a jury here (the jury system was only introduced in Korea in 2008) it does not make much use of it. While some fans of American legal TV series may be disappointed, the film remains focused and avoids straying off on tangents. The presence of a jury enables the audience to feel as if they are part of the panel that the prosecutor and attorney are trying to convince.

"The Client", a Showbox/Mediaplex release, opens in theaters on Sept. 29. Two-and-a-half out of four stars.

Source :

Copy & paste guideline for this article
Always put a link back to the source and HanCinema permalink

Creative Commons License"'The Client' is deceptive, smart "
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work from this source

Attention You're reading the news with potential spoilers, make them spoiler free, dismiss



 Previous news
  • First lady 'coaches' chefs on Korean food amid criticism
    2011/09/22 (Source)
    First lady Kim Yoon-ok, center, speaks during a lunch with Korean American chefs, food experts and,...More

  • Weekly star scene
    2011/09/22 (Source)
    It's time now to take a look at the five hottest issues in the Korean entertainment industry this week with "Weekly Star Scene!" : We have our one and only, special Dami in the studio with us. Hello Dami! [Reporter : ] : Hi Da-un! Hi Sean! : What do you have for us today[Reporter : ] : Well, our ,...More

  • Korea's Upbeat Fashion Talents Shine in China
    2011/09/22 (Source)
    Many fashion designers and brands seek to break into China... the world's biggest manufacturing powerhouse with a burgeoning economy that is largely contributing to the rapid development of its domestic fashion market. [Interview : Shi Zhen-dong Vice-mayor, Haining] "Haining city has been continueo,...More

Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$0.99 monthly or US$7.99 yearly (you can cancel anytime). The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up.


Remove ads

Sign up




Visible, hide

Learn to read Korean in 90 minutes or less using visual associations