Is Netflix’s Unlocked Based on a True Story?

Netflix’s ‘Uncloked’ is a crime thriller film written and directed by Kim Tae-Joon, marking his directorial debut. The South Korean movie stars Chun Woo-hee, Im Si-wan, and Kim Hee-won in the lead roles. It revolves around Na-Mi, a young office worker who accidentally loses her smartphone, which contains all her personal information. After the phone lands in the hands of a mysterious man who uses it to track Na-Mi, she faces life-threatening situations. The film explores the consequences of losing a device like a smartphone in the modern era of technology. Therefore, viewers might find the story too close to reality. If you are wondering whether ‘Unlcoked’ is based on real events, here is everything you need to know!

Is Unlocked a True Story?

No, ‘Unlocked’ is not based on a true story. The film is an adaptation of the author Akira Shiga’s novel ‘Sumaho O Otoshita Dake Na No Ni,’ which loosely translates to ‘Even Though I Just Dropped My Smartphone.’ The Japanese-language novel was first published in 2017 and gained critical acclaim, winning several awards. The book was turned into a Japanese film with the same title but is known internationally as ‘Stolen Identity.’ Hideo Nakata directed the Japanese film adaptation with a screenplay from Tetsuya Oishi. It emerged as a critical and commercial success leading to a sequel titled ‘Stolen Identity 2’ that was released in 2020. The book has also received a manga adaptation.

The book is written by Akira Teshigawara, a former Japanese radio director, under his pen name Akira Shiga. The story was inspired by the author’s real-life experience of dropping his phone twice a year while he was drunk. However, the ensuing chaos that features a cat-and-mouse chase between a serial killer and his latest target is entirely fictional. The story was initially titled ‘Password,’ but was later published as ‘Sumaho O Otoshita Dake Na No Ni.’

‘Sumaho O Otoshita Dake Na No Ni’ tells a primarily fictional story and deals with a serial killer’s obsession with his victims. The serial killer character is referred to as simply the “Man” in the book and does not appear to be based on a real person. However, the techniques he uses to track his victims are inspired by real-life technology commonly used in our daily lives. The Korean adaptation loosely follows its source material and expands upon it by giving the Man an actual name and a grounded backstory.

The book is primarily set in Meguro, Tokyo, and the Kanagawa Prefecture. However, the Korean adaptation shifts the story to Seoul, South Korea. The book’s protagonist is Asami Inaba, while the film changes the character’s name to Na-Mi. Moreover, the movie also deviates from its source material by altering the story’s inciting incident. Unlike the film, in the book, Asami’s boyfriend loses his phone, leading to the serial killer taking an interest in her. Likewise, Na-Mi and Asami have different professions and family backgrounds.

However, both the book and film adaptation share common themes. The story explores how humans interact with each other through smartphones, and the device holds all the intimate details of their personal lives. It also comments on how smartphones have connected people but also made it easy for them to get disconnected from each other. The use of smartphones as a plot device itself makes the story relatable, and the movie’s depiction of hacking and cyber-stalking is grounded in reality.

Ultimately, ‘Unlocked’ is not based on a true story. It is a fictional story, but its premise originated from the author’s real experiences. The film makes several changes to its source material but also expands on its thematic aspects. It provides viewers with a heightened sense of reality as it explores the consequences of losing one’s smartphone in the modern day. However, it also borrows from tropes of the thriller genre and keeps viewers invested with its clever plotting.

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