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The Attorney (2013)


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About the movie The Attorney (2013)

The Attorney is a 2013 South Korean courtroom drama film directed and co-written by Yang Woo-suk in his directorial debut. With 11,375,954 tickets sold and revenue of ₩82.9 billion, The Attorney became the 15th-best-selling Korean film of all time and the second-highest-grossing Korean film of 2013.

It was inspired by the real-life "Burim case" of 1981 when, during the authoritarian Chun Doo-hwan regime, 22 students, teachers and office workers who belonged to a book club were arrested without warrants on fabricated charges that they were North Korea sympathizers. Roh Moo-hyun, then a tax lawyer from Busan, formed a legal team with his allies, including Moon Jae-in and Kim Kwang-il, to defend the arrested individuals against the government. After the case, Roh became an influential human rights lawyer throughout the 1980s; he later entered politics and became the 16th president of South Korea. Later, Moon Jae-in also became the 19th president of South Korea.


In 1978, a former judge named Song moves to Busan to start his law firm. The other lawyers look down on him because he had passed the bar examination without ever going to university. Soon, however, he becomes rich from accepting the cases which his colleagues shun, even though they are the most profitable, such as real estate and taxation. Meanwhile, a detective named Cha is given orders from the highest levels of leadership to purge Busan of communists, even if it means resorting to fabrication. A medical officer from a nearby military base, Lt Yoon, is sent to oversee the health of the victims whom Cha's agents will torture.

Years later, in 1981, Song is enjoying his newfound fame and respect, and he even buys a sailboat with the hope of competing in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. One night, while dining at his favorite restaurant with his high school classmates, he gets into a fight with a journalist named Lee who sympathizes with the frequent student protests and claims that the mass media is inherently deceptive. A short time later, a high school student named Park, the son of the restaurant's owner, goes missing. Park's mother, Choi, frantically searches for him for nearly two months, even closing the restaurant, before it is revealed that Park and some other students are to face a trial for sedition.

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