5th February 2013
Miracle In Cell No. 7 <2013>– Directed by Lee Hwan-kyeong. Starring Ryu Seung-ryong as Yong-gu, Park Shin-hye as adult Ye-seung, Kal So-won as young Ye-seung and Oh Dal-soo as ‘the gangster’
This past weekend, I took a rare trip up to Seoul to visit a friend. While there, we decided to see a movie and, since neither of us had seen The Berlin File, that is what we opted for. However, going to the theater in Seoul is far different than going to see a movie in Jeonju. Here, you usually do not need to make a reservation. If a movie is sold out, you simply walk across the street to another theater..and each theater has enough screens so that popular films will be on more than one screen in each multiplex and staggered so you don’t have to wait long. In Seoul, you must make a reservation and, since we had decided this course of action on the spur of the moment, there was no way we were going to be able to see Berlin File. We were in Myeongdong at the time where my friend will be opening a health club and the CGV there has quite a limited number of screens. Berlin File was sold out for the next two screenings so, instead of going to some other place, we chose to watch Miracle in Cell No. 7. I was unsure about this decision, but I had been hearing some good things about movie so I thought I would give it a chance.
One of the things I had heard was that it was like the film I Am Sam but not having seen that film, that didn’t mean much to me until I looked it up on the internet. After reading about I Am Sam, I have to disagree with the assessment that the two films are similar. In the Miracle in Cell No. 7, the father and daughter are separated by the fact that he is in prison, not because anyone is challenging his parenting skills based on his mental capacity. Instead, this new movie reminded by of the Korean film Harmony with one major difference. I spent most of my time sobbing while watching Harmony while the Miracle in Cell No. 7 divides its time between comedy and drama and leans more heavily to the comedic side.
The story is about the love Yong-gu and his daughter Ye-seung. When Yong-gu is arrested and charged with murdering a child for her bag that he wanted to give to his daughter, the pair of devastated. An elaborate plan is hatched by Yong-gu’s cellmates to find a way to reunite the two. It’s a story where it is necessary to suspend disbelief and accept some coincidencs.
I loved the opening scene of the adult Ye-seung leaving the prison in the snow and the yellow balloon floating above the grounds, symbols of new purity and memories respectively. And I became engrossed in the story as it unfolded, so much so that I failed to realize that two hours had already passed by the time it was finished. One of the interstesing things about the story is the big question, Did Yong-gu kill the little girl?
Well, I am not going to tell you here. I may write spoilers on twenty or thirty year old movies but I am not going to do it for a film that is still in theaters, and doing very well thank you. So, if you get the chance, head out to the movies during this coming long weekend and give it a chance. It is very good and a movie that I would not mind watching again. Maybe I will if Berlin File is sold out again…