Review: The idea of reliving the same day in a loop a la Groundhog Day gets a South Korean treatment in Cho Sun-ho’s (writer of Killer Toon) directorial debut, A Day (a.k.a. Ha-roo). When I said ‘South Korean treatment’, it means that this film has some touch of melodrama and another shade of revenge thriller wrapped in a moving, time-loop story about life, death and grudge that glues them together.
In A Day, a glorified surgeon Jun-young (Kim Myung-min) keeps living the same day when he loses his daughter in a traffic accident. He’s en route to reconcile with the daughter when a taxi hit the poor girl and instantly killed her. Soon, as the doctor began to get engulfed by sense of helplessness and trauma, he found out that he’s not the only person to suffer the looping fate.
At first, Cho Sun-ho, who writes and directs this piece, presents the film to give impression of second chance miracle given to the film’s protagonist. Each time Jun-young wakes up, he devises new plan to save his daughter, but ends up failing. From there, Sun-ho leads audiences to finally re-think about the reason behind the time-loop. It wasn’t until Sun-ho unravels the twist, which opens a whole new thread of possibilities.
Sun-ho cleverly crafts a weighty observational piece following the revelations. The script guides audiences to unravel a thread of mystery underlying the whole time-loop set pieces. As the story progresses, the director injects powerful dose of grief and revenge as motors, distancing the film from similar stories of the same formula.
While the nature of the time-loop isn’t explicitly specified, A Day still makes a fun ride proving that there’s a space left to explore within time-loop formula, which begins to feel worn-off.