Beong-wu (Ryu Seung-beom, "Doomsday Book") turned his back on being a professional baseball player and became an insurance salesman of all things. He's in line for a big promotion and everything seems to be going his way until one of his clients commits suicide and the advice he's been giving to his clients comes into question. Three of the clients he signed have suicidal pasts and if any of them die after the two year deadline, which is coming up in two weeks, then the families of these clients will be very well taken care of for the rest of their lives on the dime of Jeil Life Insurance, the insurance company Beong-wu works for. With an impending investigation and a fast approaching deadline, everything Beong-wu has worked for rests on convincing these clients to change their insurance plan.
It's revealed early on that Jeil Life Insurance is ranked number one in financial loss and it's all due to so many suicides. The company is run by Manager Park Jin-seok (Sung Dong-il), who was also on the same baseball team as Beong-wu. Their chemistry helps bridge the gap of the main message of the film. Seung-beom and Dong-il are constantly bickering at each other, but you can tell that they have a lot of history together. Park Jin-seok is pretty amusing at times like the way he complains about how he isn't able to use the restroom correctly or the overdramatic fashion he smokes a long overdue cigarette.
Beong-wu actually visits with four clients, but only three of them have a suicidal history while the fourth is on the verge of suicide for the first time. There's a young musician in debt trying to catch a break who lives in a bus (Younha), a hard-working mother with four kids (Jung Sun-kyung), a young man with Tourette Syndrome living in a subway station (Im Joo-hwan), and a miserable middle aged man who works two jobs and is convinced his family wants nothing to do with him (Park Cheol-min).
The evolution of the Beong-wu character is extremely fascinating. As the film begins, he's completely self absorbed and practically demands respect because he's a successful salesman. The investigation kind of knocks him off of his high horse and makes him realize that he's still human. Visiting these clients begins as a last ditch effort to save Beong-wu's career, but he slowly begins to start caring for all of these individuals. He doesn't want to see these people switch their insurance plans solely because it'd save his job, but it's also because he eventually becomes concerned with their physical well being.
Ryu Seung-beom really delivers a phenomenal performance. He has the self-centered person ritual down to a fine art, but seeing all of these other emotions start bubbling to the surface is where it's completely extraordinary. Seung-beom yells and curses a countless amount of times, but at first it's only because he only cares about himself and he seems to only be throwing a tantrum. You can eventually hear the concern in his voice and see the anguish in his eyes. There's a scene where Seung-beom loses it because he has absolutely no idea what else to do because he's exhausted every effort that is fantastic, but the one scene that really comes to mind is when Beong-wu is talking to Jin-hee (Kim Chae-bin), the eldest daughter of Choi Bok-soon (Jung Sun-kyung). Seung-beom yells and pleads with this girl and goes back and forth between emotions like he's changing a TV channel and there's such sorrow in his eyes that it's just heartbreaking.
"The Suicide Forecast" is this humorous catastrophe with remarkable performances. While the big picture is mostly very predictable, the dramatic comedy is well worth seeing for its amusing nature, its tragic moments, and the incredible transition Beong-wu accomplishes. Ryu Seung-beom is just outstanding. It's odd that a film called "The Suicide Forecast" turns out to be a statement about life and to push through those more difficult moments because there's always a light at the end of that tunnel.
Special features include “The Defending Insurance-Sales King (5:48, an overview of the main characters; Beong-wu, Park Jin-seok, Hye-in (Seo Ji-Hye), and Manager Oh (Park Cheol-min)), Special Insurance: Behind the Scenes with Director Cho Jin-mo (28:49, nearly half an hour of behind the scenes footage), the Original South Korean Trailer, and Cast and Crew Bios.
“The Suicide Forecast” was released on DVD by 5 Points Pictures this past Tuesday, March 19.