Second Lieutenant Han Sang-Yeok (Si Wan) leads his platoon during the Korean War in the early 1950s. During the war, Sang-yeok encounters a children’s choir who have lost everything due to the war. Emphasising with their plight, he tries to protect the children.
Before the war, Lt. Han was a music student who doted on his little sister. When the Communists occupied their home, they showed the relatively well-to-do children what class warfare really means. Han barely survived, but his sister sadly died. In a year or so, Han matures into a steely junior officer, but his sister’s death continues to haunt him.
Given his education and the recommendation of an MP who once served in his platoon, Han is appointed director of the orphanage on the Busan military base. It is the passion project of ardent South Korean social worker Park Joo-mi. Initially, the battle-hardened Han dismisses her as a dilettante, but they warm to each other as he becomes emotionally involved with the kids. The circumstances of Dong-goo and Soon-yi particularly resonate with him. The brother and sister were orphaned after their father was killed in turn by another grieving father, whose late son he ratted out to the North Koreans. Han would like to break the cycle of violence they are mired in, but technically they are only “on loan” to the choir from the super-connected Hook.
As a “based on a true story” Korean historical drama, you know Melody will be really trying to open up the tear ducts down the stretch. The combination of music, cute kids, and wartime tragedy is certainly potent. Considering its elegiac nostalgia, it is absolutely bizarre to find the film tangentially involved in a government scandal. Allegedly, the chief Korean financial regulatory agency (FSC) was strong-arming banks and insurance companies to buy bulk quantities of tickets, because lead actor (and K-pop star) Siwan serves as their media spokesman. If true, this has to be one of the most ill-conceived cases of government malfeasance ever.
Director: Han Lee
Writer: Woo-tak Lee
Stars: Si-wan Yim, Ko Asung, Hee-joon Lee
Country: South Korea
Release Date: 21 January 2016 (South Korea)
Also Known As: Thinking of My Older Brother
Filming Locations: South Korea
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media
Codec ID : isom (isom/iso2/avc1/mp41)
File size : 2.36 GiB
Duration : 2 h 3 min
Overall bit rate : 2 728 kb/s