There are films with villains where you can almost empathize with their life choices or you are in awe of their malicious plans. Then there are films about injustice and oppression where you can’t side with the villains at all, you just want them put to justice. There are times in which conflict in film no longer feels like a drama or an adventure but a cry for justice rather than vengeance.


1987: When the Day Comes is based on the true story of the events that led to democracy in South Korea. The Anti-Communism Office has overstepped its bounds and tortured a student to death. Now they’re aiming at covering their tracks while prosecutors and press find themselves blocked at every turn whenever they’re trying to find out the truth.

If you think that this is the kind of oppressive dictatorship and civil unrest that only exists far away, you need to open your eyes. Director Jang Joon-hwan and writer Kim Kyung-chan brings us the story of how truth can be violently suppressed but ultimately comes out sometimes by the will and the sacrifice of just a few. The story is unsurprisingly still relevant today.

Told through the personal stories of a few characters, one jaded prosecutor, one zealous reporter, one teenager, one security guard and a host of bad guys, this film works in making you feel the injustice and thuggery of a single governmental cell feeling like they can play with the lives of citizens without answering to none. The camera moves as the action does, capturing the hectic events without a filter.

Recommended with reservations. The movie does occasionally try to lighten up the mood, but the story feels oppressive itself as it very well should. I feel an audience should be wary of the historical implications of the movie before seeing it as this is far from light entertainment. That being said, it is filmed in a way that it is engrossing and you will want to see the ordeal the whole way through until justice is done.

That will do for now.