One middle aged women is admitted to the hospital in a coma. Yeon-hee, who has been searching for a heart to transplant to her daughter, who has critical heart disease, is begging middle aged women’s gangster son, Whee-do, by giving him a fortune. But when the reasons for Whee-do’s mom are revealed one by one, Yeon-hee, who became desperate, is teaming up with dangerous people. I was pulled into this emotionally more than I’ve been by a film in a long time and it is always nice to see LOST alumni on the screen again. Yoon staged the whole thing with remarkable speed, sometimes close to it in a thriller, aided by a dramatic soundtrack and pictures. This movie left me feeling all sorts of emotions and asking all sorts of questions based on the situations of the characters, thought provoking, well acted and overall draining at points. To summarize, this movie is not for those with weak hearts.
The fight for a heart – an unloved son on the one hand, a helpless mother on the other. This is the melodramatic setup in the directorial debut of Hello Schoolgirl -screenwriter Yoon Jae-geun. It is important that the two “rivals” assure sympathies. There were so many times that the line between good and evil was blurred and I wasn’t sure who to root for. I like that unlike American films, you don’t know where this one is going to end up. And that you can understand the motivations from all sides even if you don’t agree with them. When the time nears for her daughter’s heart transplant surgery, Lee Hee-Do, the son of the woman in the vegetative state, suddenly appears to stop the transplant. In the past, Hee-Do was a bad son often leeching money off of his mother. He parted ways with his mother, but when he learns of the current situation he tries to protect his mother. With only one heart, Yeon-Hee and Hee-Do both are both desperate to do what they believe is the right thing.
The closest the film in some scenes reminiscent of the Hollywood drama “Changing Lanes”, which also allow two people to escalate their conflict continues. Only here is much more at stake – as the film revolves around the questions as to whether the old woman or the young girl will survive. As such, “Heartbeat” works well and has a different feel to most other similarly themed dramas or thrillers. Ultimately, it is about life and death. That makes the whole course, melodramatic, sometimes a bit abstruse. But Yoon Jae-geun has entertainment value and I am itching to see if he gets more directorial work.
Like I stated before, this is director Yoon Jae-geun’s first feature film. He is known as a writer of films like 2007’s “My New Partner” and 2008’s “Hello Schoolgirl.” Knowing it is his first real venture makes this film even better. At the same time, a woman comes to the hospital and is brain dead after a fall. Yeon-hee takes this as a chance from heaven and offers her son, Hui-do (Park), a large sum of money for his mother’s heart. Hui-do declines the offer and decides to fight for his mother’s life, but he soon discovers that his mother’s sudden fall was not an accident after all. As he digs deeper into the case, this film just gets better and better. Fans of LOST need to add this to their list ASAP, and casual film goers will find a lot to like with this film. Recommended.