A Day review: A father is forced to keep living the same day over and over in an attempt to save his young daughter.
A Day review by Kat Hughes.
Kim Jun-Young (Myung-min Kim) is a very famous Doctor. Fresh from a trip to the UN, he’s on his way home to his daughter Eun-Jung (Eun-hyung Jo). After missing Eun-Jung’s Birthday, Jun-Young is definitely in the bad books, something not made any better by him being waylaid at every opportunity on his way back to meet her. He finally shows up and makes a terrible discovery, Eun-Jung has been involved in a fatal traffic accident. Suddenly he’s back on the aeroplane, and quickly realises that he’s repeating the tragic day. As Jun-Young desperately tries to save his daughter, and hopefully reset his timeline, he meets another young man Min-Chul (Yo-han Byeon) who is also trapped in the time loop. Can the pair solve the mystery, and save themselves and their loved ones, or are they doomed to be trapped in the Hellish time loop forever?
A Day is exactly as it sounds, a foreign language sci-fi thriller version of Groundhog Day. It’s a premise that, since Bill Murray’s classic film, has much like the day, been repeated over and over, though most notably within the confines of television. Shows like Supernatural have had special one-off episodes where one of the main characters ended up trapped, and then more recently, shows like Westworld have based their whole premise around it. So some might think that the sub-genre is over with no place to move, but A Day does a valid job invigorating the narrative style.
The component that usually makes these films messy is the need to hammer home the repetition of the repeating time loop. Usually films keep playing out the same things over and over several times before jumping to a montage. With A Day, director Cho Sun-Ho skips almost immediately to that montage as Doctor Kim tries everything and anything to save Eun-Jung. Sun-Ho clearly understands that the audience is intelligent enough to already know the conventions and skips the usual spoon-feeding stage. This makes the first half really punchy and pacey, the plot zipping along at a breakneck pace. Sadly around the halfway mark, as Jun-Young and Min-Chul start to investigate the reasons why they might both be trapped together, things flag a little. It’s still interesting, but it’s just not got that same spark to it.
A valid and varied entry to the time loop movie sub-genre, A Day shows a lot of promise and entertains throughout.
A Day review by Kat Hughes, October 2017.
A Day screened as part of Mayhem Film Festival’s 2017 programme.