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The Attorney (2013) (DVD) (US Version) DVD Region 1

Song Kang Ho (Actor) | Kwak Do Won (Actor) | Oh Dal Soo (Actor) | Ryu Su Young (Actor)
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The Attorney (2013) (DVD) (US Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Winning Best Film at the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards, the critically acclaimed courtroom drama The Attorney drew over 11 million admissions at the box office to become one of the top ten Korean films of all time. The directorial debut of webtoon artist Yang Woo Suk, the film features an enormous performance from Song Kang Ho as a civil rights lawyer fighting an oppressive government. Set in eighties Busan during the authoritarian regime of Chun Doo Hwan, the film is based on the Burim case of 1981 when 19 people were illegally arrested and tortured. Song Kang Ho's character is modeled on the early life of late president Roh Moo Hyun, who became a human rights activist after defending students in the Burim case. Im Si Wan, a member of the pop group ZE:A, makes his film debut as one of the wrongfully accused students. Touching on a sensitive period of modern Korean history, The Attorney resonated greatly with local audiences and raised public awareness about the Burim case.

Song Woo Suk (Song Kang Ho) is a tax attorney of humble origins who passed the bar despite never attaining a college degree. He became a lawyer with only one goal in mind: to make money. Woo Suk is initially unsympathetic to student activists, but his entire life and worldview begin to change drastically when he agrees to defend his friend's son, Park Jin Woo (Im Si Wan), who was arrested for subversive activities and tortured into giving a false confession.

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Technical Information

Product Title: The Attorney (2013) (DVD) (US Version) 逆權大狀 (2013) (DVD) (美國版) 逆权大状 (2013) (DVD) (美国版) The Attorney (2013) (DVD) (US Version) 변호인
Also known as: 正義辯護人 / 辯護人 正义辩护人 / 辩护人
Artist Name(s): Song Kang Ho (Actor) | Kwak Do Won (Actor) | Oh Dal Soo (Actor) | Ryu Su Young (Actor) | Kim Young Ae (Actor) | Im Si Wan (Actor) | Lee Sung Min (Actor) 宋 康昊 (Actor) | 郭道遠 (Actor) | 吳達庶 (Actor) | 柳秀榮 (Actor) | 金英愛 (Actor) | 林時完 (Actor) | 李聖旻 (Actor) 宋 康昊 (Actor) | 郭道远 (Actor) | 吴达庶 (Actor) | 柳秀荣 (Actor) | 金英爱 (Actor) | 林时完 (Actor) | 李圣旻 (Actor) ソン・ガンホ (Actor) | クァク・ドウォン (Actor) | オ・ダルス (Actor) | リュ・スヨン (Actor) | キム・ヨンエ (Actor) | シワン (Actor) | イ・ソンミン (Actor) 송 강호 (Actor) | 곽 도원 (Actor) | 오달수 (Actor) | 류수영 (Actor) | 김영애 (Actor) | 임시완 (Actor) | 이성민 (Actor)
Director: Yang Woo Suk 楊宇碩 杨宇硕 ヤン・ウソク 양우석
Release Date: 2014-06-17
UPC Code: 812491015520
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English
Place of Origin: South Korea
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 1 - USA, Canada, U.S. Territories What is it?
Duration: 127 (mins)
Package Weight: 68 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1035378212

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "The Attorney (2013) (DVD) (US Version)"

November 5, 2014

This professional review refers to The Attorney (2013) (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version)
The Attorney emerged as one of the most critically and commercially successful Korean films of 2013, winning Best Film and Best New Director at the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards, as well as ranking as the year's second biggest box office hit, not to mention the country's eighth biggest earner of all time. Marking the directorial debut of webtoon artist Yang Woo Suk, the film's achievements were in no small part due to the presence of hugely popular and talented star Song Kang Ho (Snowpiercer), who delivers a powerhouse performance in the title role.

Based on the true story of the famous Burim case, the film takes place in Busan in pre-democracy Korea in the early 1980s, when the country was ruled by Chun Doo Hwan. Song Kang Ho plays Song Woo Suk (based on real life figure Roh Moo Hyun, who later went on to become the Korean president), an attorney who spends his time trying to get rich from tax litigation. His business takes off in a big way despite his not having a university education or the usual network of contacts, though he's forced to re-evaluate his priorities when Jin Woo (Im Si Wan of the pop group ZE:A), the son of a friendly restaurant owner (Kim Young Ae, Confession of Murder) is wrongfully arrested along with a group of other students. Accused of being communists and North Korean spies, the men are beaten and tortured into making false confessions, pushing Song to risk his future by taking on the justice system to defend them.

In narrative terms, The Attorney is obviously nothing new, and indeed Yang Woo Suk follows the courtroom drama template very closely throughout, packing in plenty of shouting matches and impassioned speeches, not to mention a third act surprise witness. However, despite being familiar and ultimately predictable, where it excels is a superb, almost textbook piece of gripping storytelling, which grabs the viewer from the start and heightens the tension throughout. Well-paced and driven by some skilfully timed developments and revelations, it's an expertly constructed and intelligently written piece of cinema that does justice to its true life material without preaching or mining it for cheap melodrama, and which manages to generate a sense of moral outrage and shock simply through sticking to the facts. Even for those without much knowledge of or interest in Korean politics and modern history, the Burim case and the way it's presented here feels very relevant and current, dealing with themes of corruption and the abuse of authority, and the frightening ease with which the government seems willing to suspend human rights to fit its own ends. Though set some 30 years ago, the film never feels dry or like a period piece as a result, and builds effectively towards a thought-provoking and highly rewarding conclusion.

Unsurprisingly, while Yang Woo Suk does a fantastic job as a first time director, The Attorney really belongs to Song Kang Ho, who appears in and dominates pretty much every scene with his commanding presence. Turning in a performance that's the very definition of star power, Song is magnetic and compelling to watch throughout, and makes Song Woo Suk a fully believable and sympathetic protagonist. Though inevitable and somewhat cliched, his journey from self-confessed "greedy tax attorney" to idealistic champion of the people is convincing and emotionally engaging, and this provides the film with a welcome human anchor and grounding, the viewer genuinely caring about what happens to him during the course of his increasingly dangerous crusade.

It's easy to see why The Attorney proved so popular with Korean audiences and critics, and there's no reason why its success shouldn't be repeated overseas. A fine debut from Yang Woo Suk and easily one of the best courtroom dramas of recent years, it serves as yet another reminder why Song Kang Ho remains one of the country's most popular and acclaimed actors.

by James Mudge -

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