“Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud / turn forth her silver lining on the night?” That familiar idiom known by all today (“Every cloud has a silver lining,”) originates from the above lines by John Milton. The intended message is clearly an optimistic one; when one says this to another, they mean for that person to seek out signs of hope in their own dark situation. And so it goes with Beyond the Clouds, whose central theme is just this. Don’t mistake the drama for a common revenge yarn; though payback might be a driving force for many characters, it’s hard to call it “The Point.” Viewers should instead expect a classy, fatalistic romance, complete with slow-burning melodrama. Will these two deeply traumatized people fall in love despite their cruel circumstances? If they do, will a romantic connection hurt even more—or heal both, becoming their silver lining? That’s more “The Point,” and also the element that works most beautifully. As to the revenge aspect, it’s fine if sometimes messy. I never fully believed or enjoyed the con-man angle. The “big bad” felt one-dimensional, as did his motivations, while other early villains were the same or even slightly unnecessary. That said, the dangerous atmosphere and situations created by their influence was excellent. It’s an odd combination, but it works. Yoon Kye Sang stars as Jung Se Ro, a gentle man whose experiences have left him unpredictable and angry. This actor shines in Beyond the Clouds, handsome and magnetic. He grabbed my attention as if grabbing my head with both hands, so striking was his performance. Together with leading lady Han Ji Hye, he shared sparkling chemistry. Ji Hye enchants as Han Young Won, playing emotional and romantic scenes well. However, I often noticed her eyes open too wide too often, or glued firmly to the floor. The character can be meek on occasion, but these mannerisms were not strong choices at all. Though I wasn't crazy about the whole con-man thing, Jo Jin Woong presents well as complicated Park Kang Jae. He’s the most believable and human of the seedy bunch, even the best connected to the main story. Tearful scenes seem to be his forte; he’s fantastic at them. A special mention is reserved for Kim Young Ok, probably the best “grandmother” actress ever. She made me cry so many times it isn’t funny. Both cinematography and music embrace an elegant, almost classic feel. Early scenes in Thailand are a feast for the eyes, though the rest of the drama delights as well. Songs were well-chosen and interspersed to optimize emotional effect. Unlike in other melodramas, I never grew bored of any of it. Some great vocals include “Whale” (Zitten), “Sin,” (V.O.S), and “The Full Sun,” (Yang Pa).
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