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The Suicide Forecast - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Soosanghan Gogaekdeul

South Korea 2011

Comedy, Drama

Jo Jin-mo

Ryoo Seung-beom
Jeong Seon-kyeong
Im Joo-hwan
Seong Dong-il
Seo Ji-hye
Kim Chae-bin
Hong So-hee

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The Suicide Forecast

Story: Bae Byeong-woo (Ryoo Seung-beom) sells life insurances and one day he is promoted. When one of his clients invites him to a meeting he is asked by him if the insurance company would also pay the money in case of a suicide. Byeong-woo tells him that this isn't the case, yet the man dies shortly after the talk. The insurance company needs to pay since the man was drunk but the police believes this to be a suicide and also questions Byeong-woo. But that isn't the only problem of the insurance salesman, because now he remembers that an old colleague of his, Oh Sang-yeol (Park Cheol-min), found him a few clients about 23 months ago who all had a history of suicide attempts and therefore actually shouldn't have been allowed to sign a life insurance contract. Because of a stipulation in the contract the money is also paid in case of a suicide if the client pays his monthly fee for two years always on time. Should the single mother Choi (Jeong Seon-kyeong), the poor singer So-yeon (Younha) and the homeless Young-taek (Im Joo-hwan) commit suicide Byeong-woo would lose his job. So he needs to meddle in their affairs and try to find a reason for them to live. By doing so Byeong-woo is about to lose his head, too...

Review: A comedy that revolves around suicide inevitably has to be soaked in black humor. "The Suicide Forecast" tries to keep its overall tone very joyful despite its subject and does so by also introducing a surprising amount of slapstick moments. The interesting plot of a insurance salesman whose future existence depends on whether he can help others to find the courage and will to live again can instantly captivate and Byeong-woo is absolutely the right, at first even hateful, individual who little by little also comes to appreciate the value of life and by doing good deeds, which he is forced to do out of selfish reasons, actually seems to be becoming a better person. Being enriched by some interesting supporting characters this promises to be a fun ride.

Unfortunately, the movie often takes the wrong line and finds itself in a dead end which it can only get out of with some tricks. Nevertheless, it is difficult to overlook those tricks as a better written screenplay would have prevented the necessity of them in the first place. This becomes especially apparent at the end. A lot of things concerning the ending can go in either direction and that's also what constitutes the movie's appeal but towards the end coincidence start to pile up in a more and more noncredible manner only to bring the movie to a more "coherent" conclusion and thus destroy a lot of the film's potential. That is because actually the movie deserves some credit for the fact that the individual life stories of the suicide candidates don't bring something episode-like into the movie since the director paid attention that the stories are introduced in a well-balanced relationship.

It also gets surprisingly serious concerning the potential suicides, because despite all the attempts of Byeong-woo there seems to be nothing that could give them a real goal in life. Life has simply become unbearable and extremely tiresome for those individuals at some point and all the well-intented talking doesn't change anything about that fact, so that eventually even the viewer would be willing to forgive Byeong-woo should he decide to give up. Especially well crafted is Park Cheol-min ("Beethoven Virus", "Scout") who normally is to be seen in slapstick roles, but this time with his subtle acting he depicts a man crushed by life, who with his embitterment and his apologetic smile tries to make clear that suicide is his wish and doesn't mean anything bad for him.

Naturally, the drama comes to the foreground mainly towards the end, but even then there are constantly some odd scenes finding their way into the movie, that can make you laugh out loud. "The Suicide Forecast" juggles with is comedic and emotional moments and despite some missteps it mostly manages to be successful doing so. Something that was in fact hard to imagine at first. Ryoo Seung-beom ("Doomsday Book", "The Unjust") is just the right guy for the lead role. Somewhat hateful and likeable at the same time. He gradually becomes more emotionally open and he even starts to have some serious interest in his clients not taking their own lives. As already said that's very difficult to prevent from happening concerning their resolve to do that for almost two years.

The accident at the beginning, which seems to link the fate of the future suicides, is unfortunately not picked up again and therefore is completely unncessary. The fact that Byeong-woo is a former baseball player is of no real importance either and therefore the last pictures of the film also seem rather unnecessary and only aim to give the movie a more joyful tone. Because as already stated "The Suicide Forecast" can create a good amount of melancholy especially in the middle part and at the end. Thus, the movie despite some obvious flaws proves to be a successful experiment of a drama and comedy mix, not least because of a leading actor at his best and a good supporting cast.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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