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Blue of Winter
27 people found this review helpful
by Blue
Mar 29, 2022
5 of 5 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 6.5
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 5.0

Works against its time limitations

"Blue of Winter" has plenty of potential and indie charm, but what it didn't have was enough time. Unfortunately, its screenwriting makes this as obvious as possible. Instead of using a smaller fraction of the source material and fleshing it out, it seems the screenwriter attempted to squeeze in too many events for its short duration. This makes the progression of the story rushed and difficult to follow.

While it doesn't completely make up for the underdeveloped story, I did enjoy the atmosphere of the drama. Its camera framing, editing, and moody instrumentals give it a pleasantly nostalgic feel. And I must say the actors did well for their debut. Actor, In Gi stands out among the cast as the role of "Ji Seok" required more versatility. He was able to deliver both the confident charisma and sincerity of the character.

It's not the most memorable thing you'll watch but if you're a BL/LGBTQ drama enthusiast, go for it. As a warning, it does end on a cliffhanger and a continuation is not guaranteed at the time that I’m writing this.

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30 people found this review helpful
by Blue
Feb 16, 2022
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.5

"Suffering is the human condition" in art form.

"Moneyboys" is a raw, visually stunning drama that exhibits the gritty and provocative lifestyle of young, gay escorts. While there are some steamy moments, the story focuses less on the "customer service" aspect and more on what motivates these characters despite the risks involved. With an impoverished upbringing and the weight of his family on his shoulders, prostitution is a means of survival for protagonist, Fei.

What we get as viewers is a study on this character. We're taken through a series of experiences and events that make up Fei's life. We witness how the stigma of both his sexuality and profession effects his family life and the mental toll it takes on him. Through Fei's various interactions with other characters, a clear theme rings throughout the film: the sacrifice of one's happiness for the sake of others. Lovers sacrifice themselves for the ones they love, young adults sacrifice themselves to meet family expectations, LGBTQ+ sacrifice themselves to fit the molds of society. When does the cycle of suffering end?
The story finds its anomaly in Fei's childhood friend, Long. Unlike the often numb and apathetic Fei, Long is brimming with life. He sees the perks of being a money boy as a way to live happily for himself and not for the sake of others.

Before I had a grasp on the film's narrative, I was already in awe of its cinematography and editing. The moment I clicked play, I got the feeling I was in for an artistic experience. Atmospheric lighting and color grading sets the dark and solemn tone for the film. Neon colors pop through the screen. There are some close-ups and shaky camera shots that make for intense moments, but you'll mostly see the use of still-camera wide shots. Frame by frame, it appears as though characters are moving through a sequence of modern life art pieces. It doesn't linger on one shot for too long though, especially in the beginning. Scenes are often fleeting, dialogues seem to end just shy of a complete conversation. A stylistic choice that gives the film obscurity and keeps it from dragging, but disappoints story-wise. At times, I was left wishing I knew more about what these characters were thinking and experiencing.

Aside from maybe one actress with a bit part role, all actors were convincing. Lead actor, Kai Ko, did well portraying the emotionally detached Fei. He surfaces the character's vulnerable side in ways that feel both realistic and relatable. The charm and charisma of Bai Yu Fan's Long is definitely one of the film's highlights. There aren't many dramatic acting moments so if you're worried about it being a tearjerker, you're in luck. "Moneyboys" is pulsing with emotion but it isn't necessarily a sad movie, just realistic. It's a bit longer than the average 90 minutes, but very much worth the watch.

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24 people found this review helpful
by Blue Flower Award1
Jul 11, 2022
14 of 14 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 8.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0

What it was, what it could've been...

When KinnPorsche was announced, Trapped was nearly the only action BL you could refer to. This appeared to be even darker & grittier, so it was instant anticipation for me. Fast forward to 2021, the promotion of KP begins and they’re really pushing its mafia themes. So when the drama finally airs and there are shootouts, fighting and killing; I think to myself "This is my kind of thing. Why don’t I feel immersed in this world of crime?". Well… because the world building in this series is slim to none. The way Porsche falls asleep during his orientation and gets thrown into his bodyguard duties with no knowledge of the organization, sums up how I felt as a viewer. lol

After awhile, it sinks in that the mafia themes are mostly superficial and the screenwriter's portrayal of organized crime doesn't get much deeper than men in suits carrying guns and having meetings. After 14 episodes, I’m left with a very vague understanding of what dealings/activities Kinn’s family actually takes part in. The writer relies so heavily on the viewer’s general knowledge of mafia culture that there’s barely a build-up or explanation for anything that occurs. At one point they have to defend their territory from a rival gang and I could only wonder what that “territory” was. Do they control all of Bangkok? Some of it? Is it even Bangkok? And what do they do within this territory? Drugs? Prostitution? Money laundering? There’s not enough to go on, but I could sense the writer telling me “it’s mafia stuff, just go with it”.

Eventually the series does reach a point where it feels like events are properly built up and connected to an overarching story- towards the end. When the mafia stuff is put aside and it focuses on the death of Porsche’s parents. This is also around the time Vegas and Pete offer us the unconventional romance and fatal attraction that was surprisingly missing from the main couple. They weren’t perfectly executed, but done well enough to steal my attention from the main plot.

In conclusion: I enjoyed the characters, their wild & funny interactions, the no-holds-barred expression of sexuality, and the badass action sequences. But story-wise, I'm perpetually torn between liking this as a BL, and being disappointed that it's a hollow shell of a crime drama.

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