The Attorney, inspired by former President Roh Moo-hyun, has topped the local box office in just the first two days since its release, according to the Korean Film Council.
The film, featuring top Korean actor Song Kang-ho who starred in Memories of Murder (2003) and The Host (2006), depicts a story of a Busan-based, small-time tax lawyer Song Woo-suk, who ends up taking on a human rights case involving a huge conspiracy by the authoritarian government.
It is loosely based on the so-called “Burim case”, where then-President Chun Doo-hwan arrested and tortured 22 innocent students and teachers in 1981 on the illegal possession of banned literature and suspicion of being communist sympathizers, in order to set up the relevant social environment for his dictatorial regime.
Former President Roh, who worked as a lawyer in Busan in his early days, defended the students accused of communist sympathies, which inspired him to become a human rights lawyer before entering politics.
Yang Woo-suk, the rookie director of The Attorney, announced that they “wanted to share the story of a man who wanted to hold on to common sensical virtues in hard times and to go beyond the boundary that society had set.” Song Kang-ho explained that “it is a popular film depicting the passion and attitude of life in the 1980s. It is not a political film with explicit political slogans.”
Song Kang-ho meanwhile is involved in two more Korean films this year: the recent hit Snowpiercer and the historical The Face Reader–each earned nationwide tallies of 9.3 million and 9.1 million admissions, respectively.
The directorial feature debut film of Yang Woo-suk, The Attorney was released in Korea on Dec 19.