Starring one of my favorite Korean stars, Ryoo Seung-Bum, The Suicide Forecast manages to be an endearing dramedy that shines through its character development and premise. Ryoo stars as Byeong-wu, a former professional baseball player, that retired early and went on to become an insurance salesman. After one of his top clients commits suicide, an audit begins within his company, in order to see if there’s any fraudulent claims. He sees that there’s a link to a group of cases that he had closed two years prior, where a former insurance agent, Mr. Oh (Park Chul-Min) told them that after paying the premium for two years, if they committed suicide, their families can inherit the insurance claim. Byeong then travels all over the city to try to stop them from killing themselves and convince them that their lives are worth living.
Ever since I had seen Ryoo in his brother’s martial arts film, 2004’s Arahan, I’ve managed to enjoy everything that he’s in. His acting range is incredible, being able to handle both comedy and drama at the drop of a dime, in which The Suicide Forecast makes full use of. From the sweet tender moments with characters, to the over the top nonsense with others, Ryoo manages to make those scenes work every single time. The subject matter of the film would be pretty intense in any other hands, but with Director Jo Jin-Mo at the helm, Ryoo, along with the of the rest of the cast, manage to help shine a light on the subject, through their portrayals and sometimes comedic situations. While Ryoo is actually being subservient to the company he works for, he still manages to shine through as a good person, by investing enough in these peoples lives to give them a bit of perseverance to enable them to get through their dark time.
While it very much handles the social aspects much differently than Bleak Night, The Suicide Forecast still tackles suicide and its effects on individuals in modern Korean society. Most modern films in Korean cinema, handle tough subjects like this, but still manage to entertain. Films like Bong Joon Ho’s The Host, Im Sang Soo’s remake of The Housemaid and Chan Wook Park’s Joint Security Area all boast the ability to do this and while The Suicide Forecast isn’t saying it as loud as these films, its still talking about suicide, in a manner that both confronts the issue and presents a positive outlook that people should adopt.
5 Point Pictures hasn’t presented a single Korean film that I haven’t liked and with them having one with Ryoo Seung-Bum in it, makes it all the better. The Suicide Forecast is a film that manages to be just as endearing and comedic as Punch, with its stellar performances, important subject matter and approach that make it a film you should not miss. Highly Recommended!