Public discontent with the ruling government regime in South Korea sparked political unrest in the summer of 1987 which came to be known as the June Struggle or the June Democrocy Movement. Massive demonstrations pushed the government to hold elections which instituted widespread democratic reforms. The process was of particular interest worldwide in that the 1988 Olympics were on schedule to be held in Seoul.
Change came quickly, and direct election of the president was part of the process. That societal upheaval underscores 1987: When the Day Comes, a political thriller from director Joon-hwan Jang. In Kyung-chan Kim’s script, the plot begins with the death of a student activist who dies in questionable circumstances which officials are eager to whitewash, but a rebellious prosecutor thinks otherwise.
A host of characters inhabit Kyung-chan Kim’s intricate plot including a prison guard, a female student and a reporter, all in the various ways demanding the truth. The acting ensemble includes Yun-seok Kim, Jung-woo Ha, and Hae-jin Yoo. The Los Angeles Times calls it a “fast-paced, multi-character epic.” When the Day Comes has a running time of 2 hours 9 minutes.