A man (Son Hyun-Joo) became broken-hearted after the murder of his wife (Uhm Ji-Won). A magnetic field anomaly allows him to talk to his wife from the past. Can he prevent her murder?
This movie is willing you to sell you some.
This is Prof. AKIA with the new Son Hyun-Joo starring thriller called “The Phone / 더 폰” (2015) that is really heavy on the Samsung Smartphone product placement.
I personally do not get the appeal of the whole curved Galaxy S6 Edge but…
Actor Son Hyun-Joo is having a good year as this is his second movie this year to do decently at the Korean box office. The first was the lackluster-in-my-opinion thriller called “The Chronicles of Evil” (2015). I have a review for that movie if you want to give it a look.
While I do not totally dislike Son Hyun-Joo as an actor, his main mode of acting is to start out as a man who “looks put-together from the outside but has issues” and then turn into a bumbling mess of a pathetic character at the end. Then the movie somehow rewards his character for being a mess. This seems to sell here in Korea.
Do you like Son Hyun-Joo?
I just want to say I do not know why he has become the new “Korean” Liam Neeson. He isn’t even Dennis Quaid nor Harrison Ford nor Ethan Hawke. Why am I listing the name of now-old-timey Hollywood male leading actors who have played fathers in Hollywood movies? “The Phone / 더 폰” (2015) is a mashup of movies these Hollywood actors played fathers in. That is why!
Let’s go over the plot.
You have a “Husband” played by Son Hyun-Joo who is a lawyer transitioning from the DA’s office to private practice. He has a “Wife” played by Uhm Ji-Won and a preteen daughter. While the couple have issues normal couples have like he is somewhat of a workaholic, in general, the family is in a good state.
So, a typical family for this type of movie.
However, this is a thriller movie. Something tragic needs to happen.
It is his last day at the DA’s office. The “Husband” is boxing his stuff up and going out on a “fair-well” bender with his soon to be former coworkers. It is an uneventful day except for the fact that cell phone services are being intermittently interrupted by sun spot activities.
So, the movie is going for the “magical” sun spot device.
This all changes when the wife is murdered by a home intruder before the husband comes home from drinking heavily.
Flash-forward a year and the case had gone cold. The husband is not handling the situation well. At the point when he decides to try to get his life together for his daughter’s sake, he receives a cell phone call from his deceased wife.
Here comes the central hook of the movie.
What do you do when you get a phone call from the past?
Oh and the newscaster is kind enough to state that the daily sun spot activity that day is quite similar to the conditions of the fateful day a year ago. It must be a coincidence.
It is a time cross wire or something like it. I’ll just call it the “Time” thing. The husband can now communicate with the past via his Samsung Smartphone. But, he can only receive phone calls from that tragic day and not call them. On the other end of that Samsung phone call, it is the past and his wife is a few hours before the time she is intended to die.
In the movie, time seems to flow at the same speed in both timelines. So, we have a ticking clock even though this is a wacky time movie. It seems that the husband in present only has a few hours to save his wife in the past solely via phone calls. Can he change the past? This…
Have you seen or heard of the movie “Frequency” (2000) starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel? It was about a son being able to talk to his deceased father in the past over a HAM radio for some sci-fi fantasy reason. Think it was also sunspots or something like that. It is a decent enough science fiction thriller type of movie about a father and son. It is very evident that “The Phone / 더 폰” (2015) is using the basic structure of “Frequency” (2000) as a template.
Borrowing heavily from more than a decade old Hollywood movies has been a trend in Korean cinema for some time now. Usually, these attempts end up awkwardly as, on one hand, the Korean filmmakers do not really understand the source material and, on the other hand, the Korean filmmakers try to adapt the source material to be more palatable for the Korean audience. “The Phone” (2015) falls into this category.
Going into this movie, I had heard negative things about it. So, I was surprised initially by the fact that I didn’t have such a negative reaction to what I was seeing on screen. Yes, there was nothing particularly special about the movie’s concept and objectives. It was not going to even look into the father and son relationship like in “Frequency” (2000). It was just going to be a thriller about saving one’s wife. But, I was okay with this movie just being what it is.
Besides, one should at minimum appreciate textbook like execution. The directing, the editing, the cinematography, and the acting are textbook. By which I mean they are competent for what is required of them. Even the cast was at least mostly likable and competent. No one seemed to be obviously bumbling around.
Well… Hwang Bo-Ra was not great in a small supporting role. I did not like the kid actress No Jung-Ui playing the lead couple’s daughter. But, the role is written like most movie preteens are written.
Hong Si-wan, Seoul