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[Herald Interview] ‘Citizen of a Kind’ shows power of film based on true story

Ra Mi-ran on point playing ordinary middle-aged woman Duk-hee

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Jan. 21, 2024 - 13:31

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“Citizen of a Kind” (Showbox) “Citizen of a Kind” (Showbox)

Director Park Young-ju’s upcoming commercial film debut, “Citizen of a Kind” is based on true events from 2016 in which Kim Seong-ja, a middle-aged laundry shop owner, helped lead to the arrest of a criminal organization boss after a gang member had asked her to rescue him in a phone call.

The film revolves around Duk-hee (Ra Mi-ran), who travels to Qingdao, China, to capture the boss of a criminal organization after she falls victim to a voice phishing scam. It was Son Jae-min (Gong Myung), an insider who extorted some 30 million won ($22,500) over eight occasions, who called her from Qingdao asking for help. Finding it hard to believe that Son has asked for help, Duk-hee persuades her colleagues Bong-rim (Yeom Hye-ran) and Sook-ja (Jang Yoon-ju) that they can both save Jae-min and get her money back if they go to Qingdao.

“Citizen of a Kind” (Showbox) “Citizen of a Kind” (Showbox)

The power of this movie is that the film is based on true events. The director cleverly added multidimensional characters and fictionalized elements such as Duk-hee heading to Qingdao with friends, but that the protagonist is an ordinary person helps to immerse the audience in the realistic plot line.

A number of Korean films have dealt with voice phishing scams, but “Citizen of a Kind” offers a different kind of joy to the audience: the triumph of a tough-spirited middle-aged woman.

Park’s use of key themes such as solidarity and conscience in the storyline set the film’s overall mood. The audience is unable to just hate Jae-min or care less about supporting characters like Bong-rim and detective Park (Park Byung-eun), who have their own life stories and show personal development in the movie.

Ra Mi-ran is on point in her portrayal of Duk-hee as an ordinary citizen. She is every bit your ajumma next door, both in the clothes she wears and the way she walks and talks.

Lee Moo-saeng, known for memorable roles in “The Glory” and “The World of the Married,” as the boss of the criminal organization is also worth as he once again plays a ruthless villain.

Just as Duk-hee's story is one of an unexpected miracle, “Citizen of a Kind” could prove to be a small miracle at the box office, as it offers something different from current blockbusters “Alienoid” and “Wonka” playing in theaters.

“Citizen of a Kind” opens on cinema screens Wednesday.

“Citizen of a Kind” (Showbox) “Citizen of a Kind” (Showbox)