Yu-wol-ui il-gi (2005) Poster

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Funny, sad, touching... a great movie!
till2dawn11 August 2006
I really didn't expect a lot, watching this on the Fantasy Filmfest between two movies that interested me more than a "Korean detective story". But "Bystanders" is so much more than that.

I will not give anyway anything about the story, because it's such a great experience, watching this and getting more and more details about the background of. I'm not saying there are really exciting and surprising twists and turns, it's not that kind of movie, but you certainly are stunned when another part of the story is revealed. There may be "too many endings" as another user pointed out in a comment, but it still worked for me. None of the final scenes is unsatisfying, even if you maybe get the feeling that it's just "too much".

What makes this movie so special is the topic it is dealing with. It is not just a police-murderer-story, it reveals a shocking look at the Asian education system with all the pressure students have to deal with - teachers, parents and fellow students - and the brutal consequences. It works as a political/social movie, it works as a police thriller and it even works as a comedy, because the two cops that are supposed to solve the case are just funny as hell. It is sometimes strange to experience the fast change between really funny scenes and sad, dramatic moments, but then you realize that this is not that different from the real life.

I was really impressed by this movie, by its humor, its deeply touching scenes, the brilliant actors and the beautiful cinematography. It deserves a larger audience than minor festivals.
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A thriller not so conventional
jose_moscardo26 February 2012
I think that one of the main differences between Asian and Western cinematographies is that the first ones mix genres more widely than the second ones. The result is that Eastern movies use not to be so predictable as Western films, and this is applicable to commercial titles too. South Korean movies are a good example of this miscellany. Concretely, in "Diary of June" or "Bystanders" ("6-wol-eui Il-gi" is its original title) we can find the typical thriller about a group of cops trying to catch a serial killer, a buddy movie with some touches of comedy, and specially in the last 30 minutes a very intense drama that made me remember the dark social connotations of the Japanese "Confessions". This cocktail of genres is always welcome if script and direction can keep the balance between the elements. Just like a cocktail, that it will be a good one if the ingredients have been mixed and shaken in the right proportion. Fortunately, many Korean movies succeed in this and "Diary of June" is not an exception. As a thriller, it keeps the necessary suspense during its first half. Later the identity of the killer won't be a mystery, but the reason is not a flaw of the script. That's because, since then, the social drama acquires more importance than the criminal investigation. Like "Confessions", the target of the critic is the failure of the educational establishment (including passive teachers and well-intentioned but mistaken parents or relatives). Kids can be cruel, very cruel, but their cruelty is only a reflection of the cruelty (or just unhappiness) showed by adults in front of their astonished faces. We have a very big responsibility for the new generations and too much often we are not conscious of that. Every member of the cast, including the teenagers, is good. But specially Sin Eun-kyeong, as the tough but sensible female cop with her own personal demons, does great work. Well supported by Eric Moon, there is a good chemistry between their characters and some funny moments involving their superior officers. This film is not one of the best of South Korean cinematography (the competence is high) but it works and it goes beyond the simple entertainment thanks to its social message. Not a must see but I highly recommend it.
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A Dead Student's Diary
Desertman8430 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Diary Of June tells the story of Detectives Chu Ja Young and Kim Dong Wook, who must solve a puzzling murder case involving a string of deaths at a local high school.

Their investigation eventually leads them directly to a middle school student who has long suffered abuse at the hands of school bullies.

In fact, each murder occurs just as it is described in the student's diary. On that evidence alone, one might think the detectives have an open and shut case. However, there's one problem. The student is already dead!

The movie was above average. Not great but no ordinary as well. Typical Korean psychological thriller.
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A movie definitely worth a look
FloX-216 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Saw this movie at the „Fantasy Film Festival" at Hamburg, Germany, yesterday and I just want to suggest to everybody: if you get the chance to see the movie, just take it!

This movie is not perfect or outstanding, but it is quite an experience to see it, because there are so many differences between this movie and a police thriller made in Germany or the U.S. I mean, most movies dealing with serial killers do it this way: there are one and two good cops dealing with a lot of simple characters, hunting the bad guy and going through a lot of scenes with high gore, while everybody in the audience is asking their self: „Who dunnit?"

This movie is the other way round! At least the last 45 minutes everybody knows who and why committed all the murder, the murders them self are shown very shortly without any real gore and if you expect an unexpected twist at the end – there won't by any! But the thing is: you just do not care! Because in this movie there are so many touching and well drawn characters, plot lines and funny and dramatic scenes, you just do not want this movie to end...

So if you want to see a Korean version of „Silence of the Lambs" or „Red Dragon" - skip this one. If you want to make some gain in movie experience, this one is definitely the one to watch!
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Good drama with some suspense
chrichtonsworld7 July 2007
This movie is being advertised as a mystery or thriller! That is not entirely true! While there is a mystery that has to be solved it is more a drama dealing with social issues! I will not tell what the topic is because that will spoil the plot quite a bit! I can tell however that the topic is a problem that every country on the world has to deal with! The cast is great! Yunjin Kim from "Lost" again was able to touch me! I actually could feel her emotions! "Diary of June" ("Bystanders) can be boring at times because of the slow pace! The first 75 minutes there is almost no tension! It even got to a point that I thought that this movie was going nowhere and that I could predict the outcome! But then the twist comes and shows what the whole movie actually was about! And I have to admit it really is a powerful message! A movie that has to be seen only if it was to make people aware of the problem discussed in the movie!
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Standing by
kosmasp16 September 2010
If you are not that familiar with Korean movies/cinema, you might be in for quite a surprise. But for me, it didn't really work. The English title does play a role in the movie, which is apparent almost from the get-go. But of course, that's not all there is to this movie and quite a few things happen.

A pretty decent movie, that I can only recommend, if you have an affection for that sort of movies. Still there are better (Korean) movies out there to watch. So it's up to you, if you want to take the time and watch this over other movies. Just read another comment on here and then decide, before you waste your time.
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Great Moments - too many endings
DrVenkman-229 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Middle school student Inwoo is stabbed to death on the street. When his classmate Kangtae commits suicide, a capsule containing part of a diary is found in his stomach saying "June 13th, I killed Inwoo on the street". In Inwoos body another note is found: "June 15th, I killed Kangtae, disguising it as a suicide." Tough detective Chu and her partner Kim suspect that the killer belongs to the school but they soon discover that the owner of a mysterious diary has already died in a car accident long ago...

An original attempt to rewrite some od the clichés of police procedurals and serial-killer pics... What makes the pic so different is its soft-pedalling of the usual cinematic mechanisms of serial-killer movies, from action sequences to grisly detail." (Variety)

Great performance by Kim Yoon-Jin (Lost) and Shin Eun-Kyung!
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