Yesterday is a scifi movie set in 2020 unified Korea. The pacing is interesting and creates a film noir feeling. During the last shootout scene it is fast boom boom boom, then complete quiet and slow footage and then very suddenly very loud. Although there are no off contrasts like in classical noir films, the sound and timing creates the same surreal affect. It is a mystery set in the future but feels nostalgic. There are landscape scenes with floating news reel machines, yet the clothing is today’s fashion and rich people still ride limos. Cloning technology is not yet completely accepted, but there are obviously some strides already made in that arena because Yoon Suk, the main character and detective, is looking for a way to clone his comatose son.
After a botched rescue attempt where Yoon Suk, head of the special investigation unit, accidentally shoots his own young son, he falls into depression and searches for the priest who had ties with Goliath, the serial killer whose face and motivations are unknown.
Neither the viewers nor Yoon Suk understands why the murderer did what he did, why his son was chosen. There is a lot of foreshadowing but the clues come too few too slow to engage the viewer in the story. It is only at the very end do we see the whole picture, and by then it is too late for us to feel any sympathy for Goliath or anger at the cruel experimentation on children that Goliath grew up with. There are also holes in the story leaving the viewers to question who “David” was supposed to be and whether there may be a relationship that is building between Yoon Suk and Hisu, the serial killer profiler. And if there was, then the ethics of genetic manipulation, which appears to be the basis for the whole film, goes to a whole new level where siblings do not know each other.
The film is lifted by the small chemistry between the special intelligence rag tag team. May (Kim Sun Ah) steals the few scenes she appears in. She is the smart ass, no-nonsense, team mate with a unique fashion sense – as noted by her all-male team mates. She often overshadows even the main characters, which has me questioning why the story doesn’t center around her character instead of the flat lifeless characters of Yoon Suk and Hisu and the nonexistent character of Goliath. Through out the film I wondered if she would become a bigger part of the story.
Overall a good film to watch if you are really bored. It’s not very bad and could almost be good if only the characters weren’t so flat.