Starring: Henney Daniel as James Parker, Kim Yeong Cheol as Hwang Nam-cheol, Ahn Suk Hwan as Jang Min-ho, and Kim In Kwon as Shin Yo-seob
Rating: PG-13, language and subject matter
Running Time: 109 min
Twinkies: 3 stars
Synopsis: The film, which is based on a true story, about an adopted son, James Parker, who is searching for his biological parents in South Korea. During his search he meets his real father, a condemned murderer on death row. James is in the United States armed forces stationed in Korea. He asks questions of why his father is on death row and finds out things that he always wanted to know. Then he finds more and more truths unravel about his father and his life.
Musings: Sadly, the film director isn’t a fan of the US military presence in South Korea; I’m just going to put that out there. So, dismiss that and continue watching the movie. I found the movie to be very interesting. One of the things that really disturbed me was when James went to visit his father in prison for the first time, it was a media circus! Kind of sad. But back to the movie, I thought it was well done as it showed the growing relationship of a son who thinks he’s met his father. Kim Yeong Cheol is almost unrecognizable, at first as the father, Hwang Nam-cheol. No one else could have played James Parker role better than Daniel Henney. His obvious struggles to learn the Korean language were definitely real life, even for Daniel.
Stories based on the life of criminals (especially when they’re crime is heinous), is even a big problem in the US so I can imagine the uproar associated with this movie. But I got to see/hear both Daniel and Kim Yeong Cheol sing! This is not a perfect movie by any stretch. But what is interesting is the lies that one man tells to his son to cover up his past. Let’s just say, he figures it all out.
Again pretty good acting by Daniel. One last thing…I wonder how many people who saw this movie changed their minds about finding their birth parents? It does make wonder! Okay, this is really the last thing: Daniel Henney, even with an Army buzz cut, sure looks handsome…just saying.
Trailer is available on on YouTube Website here. The movie can be found on various streaming websites.
Additional film information: The release of the film inspired controversy because the family of the father’s victims did not support its production. In its first week on release it topped the South Korean box office sales charts.
The adopted son on whom the story is based is Aaron Bates, a licensed insurance broker for his family’s insurance brokerage, Insurance Services of America. He lives and works in Arizona and is raising two boys of his own with his wife.
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