Cha made three films in 2007: Beautiful, For Eternal Hearts, and Nowhere to Turn. I had seen Beautiful, a film about a woman whose life is hell because of her incredible beauty. That's quite a role to fill. Cha is attractive in a sleepy, natural sort of way, but not typical of today's Korean starlets. Her performance in Beautiful showed promise, exuding poise and confidence, but the film was so scrambled script-wise it was hard to make much of her acting ability. Then I saw For Eternal Hearts, a supernatural thriller, and Cha performed reasonably well in a supporting role, so I took a chance on this one.
Nowhere to Turn follows Su-yeon (that's also her character's name) as she tries to earn enough money to go to England and study music. She has no support from her parents so she runs away from home in protest. She ends up at the flat of a male friend who has a big crush on her but she keeps the relationship platonic. She tries giving piano lessons to earn money but doesn't have the patience. She meets a successful musician and thinks he might be able to help her but all he wants to do is sleep with her. She returns to the puppy dog boyfriend and does something creepy. She discovers another woman is interested in her friend so she tells the woman that he has AIDS. One thing leads to another and she and her boy friend form a musical duo to perform in a contest that offers a cash prize big enough to send her to England. Bummer she didn't sleep with that other musician guy, as he turns up as one of the judges for the contest.
Cha's performance in the film is OK but, as mentioned she has a sleepy sort of beauty, and judging from this film she appears to also have a sleepy sort of acting style. Her role as a drifter we are supposed to root for requires a little more spunk than she brings to it. She does do a very good job of fitting in as a member of the local indie music scene, so there's that going for her. She seems quirky hip, if a little low-key.
All in all there's not a lot to recommend about Nowhere to Turn. It's not a bad film but it doesn't offer much that's new and the performances are only adequate. I liked it a bit more than I think most people will because I find Cha to be an intriguing young actress and I like films about people pursuing a musical dream. It's worth a rental if either of those things appeal to you.
Starring: Su-yeon Cha, Ha-joon Yoo, Jun-suk Bang, Oei Lee, Won-sang Park