The Client was a movie starring Jang Hyuk that I was really looking forward to watching. I was really curious about this movie because the premise reminded me of the 1996 popular American movie Primal Fear. I wanted to know how similar it would be and if the outcome would be the same. I was also curious about any similarities there might be in the portrayal of the main suspects in each movie.
Edward Norton’s performance in Primal Fear was unreal. He was fantastic and really caught me by surprise. I was only 12 years old when I watched Primal Fear, so I must admit I only remember it vaguely. I haven’t re-watched it since, but now I think that I might have to. I had faith Jang Hyuk would perform as well, but I wanted to see how he would make this character his own (which he did). Both performances were great, and Jang Hyuk’s character is not a clone of Edward Norton’s by any means, but there are some similarities.
I should emphasize, these are not the same movie. The plot is different and so are the suspects, but they are comparable.
Primal Fear Quick Sypnosis
Martin Vail (played by Richard Gere) defends Aaron Stampler, an alter boy (played by Edward Norton), charged with murdering a Catholic archbishop. Is he guilty or not? Is he a sociopath or is he a victim of abuse who is mentally ill?
The Client Quick Sypnosis
Likewise as mentioned in the above, Han Chul-min is being accused of murder (played by actor Jang Hyuk). In this story, they believe that he has murdered his wife. He is a quiet man that many suspect because he shows a lack of emotion. He’s also very suspicious because he has no fingerprints and none of his DNA was found in his own home. Kang Sung-Hee (played by Ha Jung-woo) defends him and many hidden truths start to unravel. This makes us wonder, is this some sort of elaborate cover up? Prosecutor Ahn Min-ho is convinced of Chul-min guilt.
… And so do both stories unfold…
So, yes, there were similarities but many differences as well.
***This section is not SPOILER proof**** Do not read ahead if you don’t want me to ruin either movies for you.
Here’s where the stories drift. Edward Norton’s character has a stutter and it’s revealed that he has suffered sexual abuse through the church. The Client doesn’t go down this road at all. Unlike Norton’s character, Jang Hyuk’s character is calm, composed and very quiet. I’m going to go even as far as to say that he’s elegant. Now, here’s where the similarity lies; They are both covering up their true identies with these facades. They are both actually, indeed sociopathic murderers. This isn’t revealed until the very end. So, both movies lead you to believe at the beginning that yes, they are probably guilty, then you start to believe their innocents, then Wham! Right at the end the truth comes out and they are both evil geniuses.
Here’s where the Client slightly disappointed me and perhaps this makes me a sick individual I’m not sure; I didn’t want Chul-min to get caught at all. So the verdict comes in and he’s found not guilty. After that all the pieces come together and at the very end Sung-Hee helps the prosecutor get the evidence he needed.
Now, you may wonder why I didn’t want the evil sociopath to get caught: Shock factor. Primal Fear had that shock factor when Richard Gere realizes he was utterly fooled and it’s too late to do anything about it. Aaron Stampler is deemed insane but reveals that it was all an act.
Chul-min was really a genius too. He played everyone perfectly and shed many heartfelt tears on the stand. This was in fact his second murder (that we know of). I think if they let him get away with it, it would have made it so much more dramatic and disturbing.
Jang Hyuk is stressing me out with his death and pain scenes. This actor portrays pain all too well. There’s a scene towards the beginning of the movie where Chul-min tries to hang himself unsuccessfully. I really didn’t like watching this. Whether he was guilty or not, he really looked like his was in physical agony and was about to die. It hurts me inside to see him like this!
I won’t state one actor better than the other, because I loved both of their performances and both were very different. I think both movies are worth watching if you haven’t seen them. Brilliant acting! Bravo! I tip my hat to you both.
My Rating for both movies: 4/5