It seems Ji-seung Lee has been taking notes in his many years spent on the producing end of the film business. Here he delivers a relatively short, but powerful film tackling some very sensitive issues. He walks the viewer through one of the most heinous of crimes possible, sexual assault against a child. As serious of a crime as that is, Lee chooses to expose another evil, one not so easily identified, one of which as shown here in the film, is seemingly just as unconscionable-The indifference of the very people we as society so delicately entrust to deal with these sensitive criminal matters. With his unique eye Lee exposes the evil that law enforcement and everyday people can commit by choosing not to see what is squarely in front of them, choosing to ignore the plight of the woman, something that reaches more into the climate of social female prejudice, which is strongly represented throughout the film as Yoon is dismissed time after time by the males that are in charge of her case.
Making the move from strictly producing as he has done in the past, Lee’s unique way of dividing up the narrative took what could have been a fairly simple story and found subtle ways for drawing in the viewer to feel Yoon’s (Young-nam Jang) pain and frustration as she desperately seeks the proper attention from police. Do note in the film Yoon is constantly referred to as Azooma, a condescending form of address for an older married woman in Korea, serving as yet another form of prejudice toward Yoon.
It was an incident that occurred by chance, one day Yoon was running late from a business meeting to pick up her ten year old daughter from school. Unfortunately, a serial pedophile was lurking nearby, his sights set firmly on the young girl. As she started down the sidewalk, the predator, identified only as “man”, quickly rolls up along side her, explaining he knew her mom and to come with him in the car. It was later that night that the child’s raped and wounded body was found in a trash pile. With no witnesses and since the man had taken every precaution possible not to leave any trace evidence, the police take little to no action to track down the offender and have no patience for Yoon’s constant demands for action. The specific actions of Detective Ma (Ma Dong Seok) are so indifferent and unconscionable that certain scenes involving him interacting with both mother and daughter are infuriating to watch. Even after Yoon tracks down the attacker physically, the police that respond are easily outwitted into thinking that Yoon was just some “Azooma”.
To throw in extra complication, the father of the child, Yoon’s ex- husband Dr. Lee, is some form of a celebrity there in Korea. So he uses whatever influence he has to hinder and ultimately close the investigation. All the while the camera is fixed on Yoon and she does a superb job showing the myriad of emotional transitions that her character goes through. In all it was a very satisfying Korean film that gets under your skin and leaves you with a strong semblance justice has been had, while certainly not delivered in a conventional means, it’s a violent, but fitting resolution indeed.