AsianMovieWeb logo
Days of Wrath - Movie Poster
Original Title:

South Korea 2013


Sin Dong-yeop

Joo Sang-wook
Yang Dong-geun
Lee Tae-im
Jang Tae-seong
Ban Min-jeong

Search AsianMovieWeb

Days of Wrath

Story: Jun-seok is bullied in school by Chang-sik and his gang. He bears the bullying without fighting back. A girl that is interested in him doesn't like to see this, though. When Chang-sik finds out that Jun-seok has a girlfriend he kidnaps her and rapes her in front of Jun-seok. The next day the girl commits suicide...
The suicide of his girlfriend affects Jun-seok (Joo Sang-wook) even 15 years later. He hasn't achieved anything in life and is still looking for a job. He earns money on the side as a parking guard until he one day suddenly finds himself standing before Chang-sik (Yang Dong-geun) again. His former tormentor doesn't recognize him at first, but even when Chang-sik remembers who he is facing, he doesn't seem to remember his actions of the past. Thanks to his rich father he is successful and is also about to marry his rich girlfriend Ji-hee (Lee Tae-im). Jun-seok can't bear this injustice any longer and decides to take revenge...

Review: "Days of Wrath" is a revenge thriller of a different kind. It doesn't revolve around the long plan in the making of killing someone out of vengeance, but more around paying someone back in kind by gradually destroying his life. That sounds enthralling and it is. For most part the movie also approaches the subject in a pretty smart way and instantly manages to capture the viewer. However, from the second half onwards the film loses its orientation and it doesn't really recuperate from that till the end. In this case that's really a shame since the atmosphere and the plot deliver everything that a successful thriller needs. Sadly, the protagonists also lose some of their color towards the end and thus the viewer interest in them.

Days of Wrath - Film Screenshot 11

Being bullied by your classmates can scar you for life, this Jun-seok certainly makes us realize. The scenes at the school aren't easy to bear and especially the raping is a bit thick. Jun-seok has never learnt to fight back, but why he does so little, apart from his pleading, to prevent the raping remains very odd - even for him a little bit more resistance would have been within the bounds of possibility. Yet, when a little bit later on he tries to take revenge on his tormentors he fails miserably. He seems to be the born loser. And that's what "Days of Wrath" without a doubt wants to make us realize. When we leave Jun-seok's past this doesn't change a bit either. The man still can't fight back or defend himself. At least he can take a beating better than before.

Days of Wrath - Film Screenshot 12

What's making this thriller so fascinating is the fact that we actually don't have any good individual in the usual sense of the word in the center of the plot. In a way this turns out to be a problem a little bit later on, though. We can sympathize with Jun-seok and we hope that he finally puts his revenge plan into action. But when he does we also realize how he gets consumed by his desire for vengeance. That is unpleasant to watch and some of his actions are so perfidious that we can't really be sure anymore whether he is the good guy or not. For this the movie actually deserves some kudos, but it also leads to Jun-seok becoming more shallow with time. Actor Joo Sang-wook ("My Wife got Married") at first may convey the necessary impression of a character who is dead inside since the incident fifteen years ago, but towards the end he isn't defined by anything else but his desire for revenge.

In this context Chang-sik is quite intriguing. Because when he meets Jun-seok again he seems to be a normal guy. Only in his interaction with his former victim he relapses into his old role. Since Jun-seok wants to destroy his life this doesn't seem that odd. And although you can't forgive Chang-sik for the raping he committed, you still start to wonder if it's not Jun-seok who is turning him into a bad person again. Yang Dong-geun ("Fighter in the Wind", "Address Unknown") manages to make us loathe him even in those scenes in which he apparently seems to be quite normal. Maybe that is because of his past, but Yang succeeds, alongside Joo, to turn the theme of hate into the actual dynamic factor of the story.

Days of Wrath - Film Screenshot 13

The dark tone of the movie continues to be apparent in the story as well, but director Sin Dong-yeop ("100 Days with Mr. Arrogant") makes a big mistake. Either your movie should center completely around Jung-seok's personal vendetta or it shifts in the middle in order to deliver a thrilling psychological battle between the two opponents. Sin chooses latter one, but that's exactly were the thriller slips from his hands. The tension drops considereably and "Days of Wrath" becomes predictable. A girl that has an interest in Jun-seok is introduced and we are instantly aware that this only serves the purpose of her becoming a target for Chang-sik. The brawls are ridiculously choreographed and the ending is simply a disappointing affair as well. Even though "Days of Wrath" is actually an unrelenting thriller that would have deserved a recommendation it can't be given because of the second half which relativizes this impression.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Days of Wrath - Yesasia Yesasia Logo