Genre: Crime Drama
Director: Lee Kyoo-man
Starring: Park Yong-woo, Ryoo Seung-yong, Song Dong-il
Duration: 132 min.
On March 26, 1991, five boys went to Mount Waryong to catch frogs but never returned. Eleven years later, police discover the bodies of the five children, and television producer Kang Ji-Seung tries to solve the mystery.
Children is a South Korean film directed by Lee Kyoo-man, based on a famous incident known in Korea as the case of the Frog Boys. The 1991 disappearance and murder of five young boys, whose bodies were finally discovered 11 years later. The case remains unsolved and the 15 year statute of limitations expired in 2006.
This is a crime drama told mainly from the point of view of Kang Ji-seung (Park Yong-woo), an investigative journalist/television producer trying to resurrect his career after it is discovered that his latest documentary was staged. Relegated to the small town of Daegu, he stumbles on the now cold case of the Frog Boys and thinks that solving it will be his ticket back to Seoul.
The first half of the film is really well done, as Kang follows the misguided theories of university professor Hwang Woo-hyeok (Ryoo Seoung-yong) who is obsessed with the case and claims that one of the children's parents must be the killer. This culminates in a disastrous and fruitless search of one of the boy's homes, that leaves both of their careers in ruins.
However it all begins to fall apart after that, as we jump forward 5 years to the discovery of the children's bodies, after a massive storm reveals their burial place on the mountain. This also happens to be where the film really deviates from the real story. The narrative turns from an interesting character study and mystery, into an overly melodramatic mess with a poorly executed final act filled unnecessarily with soap opera style moments that severely detract from the potential impact of the film.
— Bonjour Tristesse