On March 19, 2013 the 5 Points Pictures branch of Right Stuf, Inc. releases the South Korean film, “The Suicide Forecast”, and they provided us with the opportunity to review this comedy/drama directed by Cho Jin-mo.
“The Suicide Forecast” stars Ryoo Seung-bum as Bae Byeong-wu, a former baseball player turned insurance salesman with a desire to makes lots of money and live a comfortable life. As Byeong-wu makes plans to leave his old job for a higher profile one though, he meets with one of his life insurance clients and during their conversation, may have hinted that while suicide wouldn’t pay out if he were to have an accident then the insurance company would have to pay his family.
The man does end up killing himself and Byeong-wu is accused by the man’s family of aiding and abetting in his suicide, which leads to both a criminal and internal investigation. All would be fine for Byeong-wu if not for three clients that he sold life insurance to that were at a high risk for suicide. This sends him into a frantic search to find each of the three clients and get them to change their policies from life insurance to retirement plans, but once he finally catches up with them he learns just how tough each one really has it.
Ahn So-yeon (Younha) is an amateur musician who lives under a bridge, in a camper with her brother and is struggling to pay debts to some very bad people, Kim Young-tak (Lim Ju-hwan) is homeless, suffers from Tourette’s and is trying to make any money he can to help his sister raise her daughter after the death of her husband, and Choi Bok-soon (Jung Sun-kyung) is a widow trying to take care of her children on her own, with the eldest daughter constantly making things harder on her. Upon meeting each of these people Byeong-wu’s challenge feels more and more daunting, but as he starts to spend time with everyone and their families, he finds himself starting to care more about keeping them alive than saving his own hide.
Ryoo Seung-bum fit the role of Bae Byeong-wu extremely well, early on Byeong-wu is self-centered and arrogant but throughout the movie he gradually begins to show a more caring side, Seung-bum captured both sides of Byeong-wu and managed to make it all feel natural. Each of the three suicide risk clients are also portrayed very well by their actor/actresses and though we don’t see a lot of Jung Sun-kyung’s character, her children really offer some great moments with Byeong-wu that help sell that softer side. Park Chul-min also did an exceptional job as “Manager Oh”, a former insurance salesman struggling to stay afloat by taking any job he can get; his portrayal of the character really makes you feel for him and among the cast he felt the most human.
The single DVD comes in a standard DVD case that features a nice looking image of Ryoo Seung-bum on the cover and the rest of the main cast on the back. Included along with the movie are trailers for other 5 Points Pictures releases, bios for the cast and crew, an original trailer, behind the scenes footage with director Cho Jin-mo and a short video describing Ryoo Seung-bum’s character titled, “The Defending Insurance-Sales King”.
The subtitles are clear, easy to read and remain on screen for a fair length of time. Also included was the option for both monochrome and dual-colored subtitles. While it may have been nice to have an option for an English dub, not having it doesn’t affect my opinion of the film, most viewers would rather watch with the original language option anyway.
The story of “The Suicide Forecast” doesn’t take very long to draw you in and though Byeong-wu is easily one of the least likable characters early on, by the end of the movie I was glad to see things end up the way that they did for him. “The Suicide Forecast” offered a great blend of drama and comedy; it never felt like there was too much of either one which gave it a nice overall balance.
The film does a nice job of showing that while times may be hard and desperation may make suicide sound like an option, there are always reasons that make life worth living and there is always someone there, even if he started off being pulled into a situation he wanted no part in.
If you enjoyed 5 Points Pictures recently released film, “Punch”, then “The Suicide Forecast” is another title that you’ll want to look into.
The Suicide Forecast
Publisher: 5 Points Pictures
Runtime: 124 minutes
Number of Discs: 1 DVD
Languages: Korean with English subtitles
Age Rating: 16+
Release Date: March 19, 2013
(A review copy of “The Suicide Forecast” was provided by Right Stuf, Inc.)