Tae-san's world comes crashing down when his famous fiancee dies in a horrific accident. When his only daughter becomes the prime suspect in her death, Tan-san hatches a risky plan to find the real killer and prove her innocence.
A troubled ex-cop is imprisoned for a hit-and-run accident. He discovers that the entire penitentiary is controlled by an inmate who has been running a crime syndicate with the help of the warden and guards which provides them 100% alibi.
Byeon (CHOI Min-sik), the Mayor of Seoul who is in his second term, announces his plans to run for mayor again while hinting his political party of his ultimate goal to run for the presidency. A heavily-resourced campaign team is formed, headed by the campaign manager Shim (KWAK Do-won) who is known as a crafty politician, while Park (SHIM Eun-kyung), a young prodigy from advertising, is recruited for fresh perspectives in the re-election campaign. But one obstacle after another is thrown their way while his opposing candidate is in the lead. And soon, the dirty realities of politics soil everyone's hands.Written by
Intense exposure of greedy politicians in a twisted drama
The Mayor, also known as Special Citizen, is an excellent political drama that tells the fictional story of the charismatic, greedy and influential mayor of Seoul who seeks election for a third term which will set him up for a run at the presidency. The film follows his career and life from the start of his campaign until the immediate aftermath of election day. The movie revolves around conflicts, conspiracies and corruption among the mayor's team involving betrayal, blackmail, drugs, murder, prostitution, suicide and theft. Without pointing fingers,Park In-je's movie shows how disconnected politicians are from other citizens, hence the title of the film.
The movie convinces with a twisted story exposing the abyss of the human psyche with a particularly intense middle section. The characters have depth beneath their obvious greed which makes them round but static characters. The acting performances are excellent as Korea's best actor Choi Min-sik delivers yet another career highlight portraying the twisted mayor. Female lead actress Shim Eun-kyung stands out as determined, honest and smart rookie advertisement specialist who is constantly trying to not get corrupted by her more experienced colleagues and superiors. Camera work is enjoyably calm and precise. Settings, effects and costumes are so realistic that the movie almost feels like a documentary at times or at least like a film based upon a real story.
There are only a few minor negative elements to mention. First of all, several twists of the story are predictable since movies about shameless politicians are nothing new or shocking anymore. Secondly, the movie could have had a more concise introduction, portraying the greatest moments in the mayor's career instead of throwing us into a campaign for a third term right away. Thirdly, the same thing could be said about the ending as one would have liked to know what happens next after election day. On the other side, those minor negative points also show that the great script of this movie would have made for an excellent extended televions series in the key of ''House of Cards''.
If you like realistic, intense and honest political dramas, this film will fully satisfy you. The acting skills are outstanding, the movie offers some food for thought without being overtly moralizing and the detailed script is filled with numerous twists and turns. While the movie certainly doesn't reinvent its genre, it certainly is among the better of its kind in recent memory.
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