The Suicide Forecast (2011, Jo Jin-mo)

For a while during Suicide Forecast—in the first act and third—it seems like the film will be about protagonist Ryu Seung-beom discovering he doesn’t want to be a soulless business success and redeeming himself.

But Forecast isn’t exactly about Ryu. A plot summary sounds like a perverse comedy—Ryu’s an insurance adjuster who discovers three people he’s signed up for life insurance are all suicidal and they’re about to get past their probation. The co-worker who convinced Ryu to sign them up? He’s also suicidal and Ryu just inherited responsibility for his policy too. What kind of antics will ensue when he tries to persuade them not to kill themselves?

Not many antics, actually. Instead, director Jo guides Ryu through difficult situations, ones where he can’t really do anything to help these people. While Ryu does learn things in Forecast, he doesn’t make any great personal discoveries. His character never goes through a profound change and the crises he averts are sometimes ones he creates.

Ryu’s great in the lead. Song Dong-il is his boss, who can’t seem to fathom the situation. Of the supporting cast, Park Cheol-min (as Ryu’s former co-worker), Im Joo-hwan (as one of the policy holders) and Kim Chae-bin (as a policy holder’s daughter) give the strongest performances.

Jo makes some cinematic great moments in Forecast, both dramatic and comic. He knows to reward the viewer for enduring the depressing drama. Forecast starts shaky and finishes solid.

3/4★★★

CREDITS

Directed by Jo Jin-mo; written by Yu Seong-hyeob; director of photography, Choi Sang-mook; edited by Shin Min-kyung; music by Kim-Hyung-seok; produced by Park Mae-hee; released by CJ Entertainment.

Starring Ryu Seung-beom (Bae Byeong-woo), Song Dong-il (Manager Park Jin-seok), Park Cheol-min (Oh Sang-yeol), Jeong Seon-kyeong (Choi Bok-soon), Seo Ji-hye (Lee Hye-in), Hwan Im Joo (Kim Yeong-tak), Younha (Ahn So-yeon), Kim Chae-bin (Jin-hee), Lee Ji-eun (Seon-hee), Lee Joon-ha (Mi-hee), Oh Eun-Chan (Ok-dong), Jung Sung-ha (Ahn Hyeok), Hong So-hee (Kim Yeong-mi), Kim Byeong-chun (Homeless guy Park) and Choi Il-hwa (Hwang Woo-cheol).


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