The dramatic moments are convincing mostly because of the good acting achievements and the well-crafted groundwork created by the well-written characters.
Kang Seok-beom directs a film that, despite its unoriginal script, is presented in a fashion that makes it stand apart, since it is more a drama than a gangster film. The realism that permeates most of its duration, definitely works in that direction.
Sunflower is the pitiful tale of a recently released convict whose life spirals further downwards despite his vow of nonviolence moving forward. So while Kang Seok-beom’s heartbreaking drama has plenty of ugly fight scenes, the hero (played as a kind of naif by Kim Rae-won) is generally getting beat up without ever striking back. As human punching bags go, he’s the thoroughly bruised poster child. So who’s he getting pummeled for? His adoptive mother (Kim Hae-sook), his bratty sister (Heo Yi-jae), and his mechanic boss (Lee Ho-sung)… Truthfully, you feel like he’d take a broken nose for anyone.
At the end “Sunflower” oddly can’t evoke the tears that we actually expected it to cause – even though it tries hard. Nevertheless, this doesn’t change the fact that this is a nice little gangster drama, that cleverly outplays the weakness of its all too familiar plot!
Decent Flick of Mixed Emotions.
Kim Rae-won (Oh Tae-sik)
Kim Jung-tae – Yang-ki
Excellent drama with exciting action towards end.
Former gangster Tae-sik is released from prison and heads back to his hometown to live in a small restaurant with a woman. Attempting to leave his past behind, he takes a job in a garage and tries to keep away from the local gangs, most of whom still live in fear of his brutal reputation. When a local politician wants to knock down his adoptive mom’s restaurant to build a new shopping mall, Tae-sik struggles to avoid returning to a life of violence.
Release date: November 23, 2006 (South Korea)
Director: Kang Seok-Beom
Box office: 8.22 million USD
Cinematography: Woo-Jae Kim
Music composed by: Wook-Hyeon Lee
Screenplay: Kang Seok-Beom, Song Min-ho