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Director Chung Ji-young's THE BOYS revisits 1999 case of wrongful conviction

Oct 11, 2023
  • Source by Yonhap
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"I thought we need to give consideration and thought to the have-nots."


Korean auteur Chung Ji-young's new feature, The Boys, recounts a 1999 case in which three boys were wrongfully convicted of robbery and murder under a manipulative criminal justice system. 


In 1999, three robbers broke into a supermarket in a southwestern town, stealing money and leaving a 77-year-old woman choking to death on duct tape. The police identified a trio of mentally handicapped boys as the culprits and quickly closed the case. The investigation's credibility was brought into question after a man later confessed he committed the crime with two others, leading to a retrial. The three men were exonerated of their robbery and murder charges in 2016.



The poster of Korean detective drama "The Boys" is seen in this photo provided by its distributor CJ ENM. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap) 



The Boys revolves around Hwang Jun-cheol (Sol Kyung-gu), a police officer newly assigned to the town who discovers that the robbery case was manipulated by his teammates. Hwang tries to reinvestigate the case but a high-ranking police officer (Yu Jun-sang), thwarts his efforts and sends him to a remote island. After 16 years, Hwang revisits the case to help exonerate the trio from the false charges.


Chung, who has dealt with several controversial social issues during his 40-year career, said he decided to dramatize the case to provoke thought about social injustice against the underprivileged groups. "I think children are the most powerless, fragile and marginalized people in our society. The movie reflects how society views them," Chung said in a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday. "I thought we need to give consideration and thought to the have-nots."


It is the third film in Chung's trilogy based on true events, following the courtroom drama Unbowed (2011) and the white collar crime film Black Money (2019).




Director Chung Ji-young of Korean film "The Boys" speaks during a press conference held at CGV Yongsan i'Park mall in central Seoul on Sept. 27, 2023. (Yonhap)



Veteran actor Sol said he joined Chung's new feature as he was deeply struck by the so-called Samryenara Supermarket case. "I have starred in movies based on true stories, which resonate more closely from the actor's perspective," Sol said. "I was more drawn to films based on real events and decided to star in 'The Boys' because Chung Ji-young directed it. It was an irresistible attraction."


The Boys hits local theaters on Nov. 1.



By Kim Eun-jung 

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