"Miracle in Cell No. 7" is a South Korean fervent comedy-drama film, directed by Lee Hwan Kyung, which was released in 2013. The story forwards with a mild mentally challenged man who is wrongly imprisoned for a criminal offense he did not commit.
The film visualises the man's attempt to live his life in jail while maintaining a strong connection with his daughter.
Watch the trailer for "Miracle in Cell No. 7" here
Lee Yong Goo, the protagonist of the movie, is imprisoned and assigned to "Cell No 7", the roughest cell in a maximum-security jail. Yong Goo saves the life of his cellmate - So Yang Ho, who is a prison gang leader.
Yang Ho repays the favour by smuggling Lee Ye Seung (Yong Goo's daughter) into Cell No 7. The cell's prisoners slowly befriend Yong Goo and start to feel that he is a good man who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The police head commissioner, however, threatens to harm Ye Seung if Yong Goo does not confess his crime during the trial. At length, Yong Goo chooses to plead guilty and accepts the death sentence; sadly, his execution date of December 23 coincides with his young daughter's birthday.
The script revolves around a strong family bond between the mentally disabled father and his young daughter. The movie begins with a young woman collecting witnesses and later standing in court to reverse the ruling of a case filed many years ago.
In court, she starts telling her story and that is when the real part of the movie begins. She depicts how her father was mistreated by the police and prison authorities and how he was bullied in jail but slowly his innocence and fondness for his daughter placed him in everyone's heart.
Out of emotions, other inmates planned to smuggle his daughter into the prison to reunite the father-daughter duo. Within the prison walls, funny moments could not make them forget the discomfort of a life in prison. The scenes altered between conveying emotions and being funny.
Along with a great storyline, the movie had some shortcomings, too. Upon close inspection, some parts of the movie may seem illogical or impractical to many. For instance, how can a mentally challenged person like Yong Goo be Ye Seung's guardian in the first place? Firmly, he does not have enough mentally maturity enough to raise a child.
Secondly, the older Ye Seung's argument at court is only based on what her father told her and that too, without any strong evidence. Thirdly, the police head's conspiracy and rage to scrape him out was not much logical, either.
Moreover, the decision of giving the death sentence to a mentally challenged person is not a true justification. And lastly, the prisoners managing such a big air balloon for their escape cannot be justified as well.
These were some of the illogical and unrealistic events from a critic's perspective but rest assured, these shortcomings do not reduce the greatness of this movie.
All the characters played salient roles to construct the entire movie. It is fun to observe the prison inmates developing friendships with Yong Goo despite everyone's diverse personalities. Although it was a narrative-style storyline, it had some inconceivable melodramatic scenes.
Ryu Seung Ryong portrayed the character of the mentally handicapped father very powerfully. The child actor Kal So Won portrayal of her role proved that it was meant for her. The adult version of the girl seems to be bold and the sharp acting skill made her performance very captivating.
What matters the most in this movie is the character development and interaction, which was executed in an outstanding way. The supporting cast also did an excellent job. Hope, justice, mercy, innocence, sacrifice, and affection are the main themes which were explored in this harrowing and satisfying movie.
This movie can be positioned next to other prison movies such as "The Shawshank Redemption", "The Green Mile", "Get the Gringo", and "Cool Hand Look". Moreover, do not forget to grab a box of tissues before you start watching this movie as it will make you shed tears while lighting up your face with a smile at the same time.