Days of Wrath ("Eungjingja")
“A superior revenge thriller that stands out from the crowd” - James Mudge, BEYOND HOLLYWOOD
Teenage Joon-seok (Joo Sang-wook) is relentlessly terrorized by Chang-sik (Yang Dong-geun) and his cronies. Day after day, they torment him and make his life a living hell. Without friends or parents, Joon-sik turns in on himself. So-eun quietly brings a ray of light into Joon-sik’s darkness. But Chang-sik can’t let him be, and pushes his harassment to its limits, scarring Joon-seok for life. Fifteen years later, Joon-sik seeks to overcome his nightmarish experiences. Turned away by all the large businesses because of his past, he works as a parking-lot jockey. One day, as he takes the keys of a successful businessman, he recognizes him as his tormentor. The guy who once treated him like a dog is living the high life. Joon-seok cannot abide this injustice, and intends to rectify it…
The Koreans have established themselves as the masters of the cinema of vengeance. Up till now a creator of rom-coms, director Shin Dong-yeop (WEDDING SCANDAL) sought a new approach to the familiar theme, avoiding the obvious path and choosing a more complex consideration. Rather than opting for simple violence, his hero plots a Machiavellian scheme focused on the weaknesses of his nemesis. As a result, the tone here is more realistic — and Joon-seok’s revenge all the more sweet. The success of Shin’s film relies heavily on the capabilities of his cast, and benefits tremendously on his choices of Joo Sang-wook (THE HUNTRESSES) and Yang Dong-geun (FIGHTER IN THE WIND), the two engaging in an unforgettable acting duel. Each of them shifts from aggressor to victim is surprising ways, so effectively that by the end, one is no longer certain who to root for. All said, DAYS OF WRATH is more than a mere revenge flick. It addresses particular themes — bullying, social inequality — that resonate universally. It stands out starkly from its predecessors, bringing in a new perspective for which the genre thirsted. It’s up to you to decide whether Shin has successfully transitioned from romantic comedy to suspense, but one thing’s for sure, DAYS OF WRATH will not leave you unaffected.
— Éric S. Boisvert