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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Free Chol Soo Lee; Grade: B

Free Chol Soo Lee is a documentary centering around a Korean man named Chol Soo Lee, whom was wrongfully convicted of a murder he most certainly did not commit. Here in this film we’ll discover the rally that was made for the freedom of Chol Soo Lee, those whom personally helped Chol Soo Lee, and also discover his life story.

Stories like Free Chol Soo Lee can always feel heartbreaking and most certainly frustrating to watch, especially when it comes to convicting someone of murder on literally an eeine meeine miney mo process… That’ll most certainly drive one nuts! I felt the whole story in which was catered to the wrongful crime story, was fairly told. You go in depth what one goes through in the most dangerous prison in California, as what one need to do in order to survive amongst some seriously dangerous criminals, especially one like Chol Soo Lee who really doesn’t have a severely violent soul these inmates have. 

It was cool to see this moment being a moment in which a whole community gather around, as they help someone in need of justice… I miss when people we’re more in tune of doing the right thing and getting together in full harmony, as this was beautiful to see. The moments where Chol Soo Lee gets acquainted with the lawyer and especially the Korean News Reporter was lovely to experience, the News Reporter brought a father figure in which Chol Soo Lee was missing his entire life. You could also say even though most people have the right intentions, there is also people like Chol Soo Lee’s mother whom just wanted to capitalize on this moment for media presence. It goes to show that even like forty plus years later… We still have unhealthy mannerisms in which people try to capitalize on one’s pain, in order to receive clout, I feel it has progressed even worse than it was back then.

Though you’e offered an intriguing crime story with emotional ties of community and togetherness, I felt when the film dove into Chol Soo Lee’s life in general was just about as interesting if not more heartbreaking. While we can say Chol Soo Lee did indeed have a minor crime reputation and behavioral problems… There’s a significant reason why it’s not all his fault. When you grow up without a father, while also growing up with a mother who mistreats you and neglects your well being… The chances of you being an emotionally stable being is extremely slim, as you’ll always feel a sense of abandonment and loneliness. That’s why most people like Chol Soo Lee tend to get in trouble, lack stability in their feelings, while also feeling the need to stay out longer as they feel so alone… When you don’t live in a reasonable stable household, more than often that person is going into a field of trouble.

The film while making one understanding that Chol Soo Lee is fully responsible for all his actions, makes you also sympathetic of the human side of Chol Soo Lee as he could perhaps grown up as a more behaved person, if he was in a stable and reasonably loving home. That’s why it’s extremely important as a parent to be there for the child and treat your child correctly, as the everlasting effects will most certainly damage the child onto adulthood. There’s really no excuse why any parent feels the need to hurt a child mentally or physically, even if you experience heartache yourself don’t take it out on a defenseless child who doesn’t know any better.

So the film excels on being a fairly told standard crime story, while also being a compelling tale about the human experience as well in terms of trauma and most certainly redemption… Redemption can be achieve at any time in your life, as long as you keep going and are willing to grow as an individual.

Overall, Free Chol Soo Lee was solid documentary. I recommend checking this one out, not sure if it’ll make it’s way to theaters again, but this will be a nice sit at home watch as well. -Mitch Smietana

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