Dark and richly encrusted with elegant symbolism, Shark manages to be poetic as well as thrilling. The intensity of the lead and the constantly unraveling mysteries will keep the viewer moving desperately through the story -- much like the titular animal does to survive. That being said, certain issues keep this drama from being perfect. It's still worth a gander though; double that if you like dark revenge stories or are just a fan of Kim Nam Gil. A major selling point of Shark rests in its surprisingly solid plot. The writers seem to have taken delight in the meticulous set up of their mysteries and, for the most part, executed them perfectly. Something I found unique was the way human ugliness and desperation colored the events. Many characters committed terrible acts and possessed deplorable qualities; innocent people suffered and became cornered by forces they couldn't control. It felt honest and multifaceted, a fantasy painted in the realistic gray tones of the world. Unfortunately, despite obvious care worked into the script, I felt disconnected from most of the characters until late. They often felt like mere pawns shuffled along the winding path of Yi Soo’s revenge. By the time one truly becomes invested, few episodes remain. This might be why people are conflicted about the ending, though it worked for me in any case. Unsurprisingly Kim Nam Gil owns the stage as the vengeful Yi Soo. Not only is this his first drama appearance in years, he's still wildly talented and believable. Even when his character merely played puppet master from the shadows, Kim Nam Gil found a way to infuse him with humanity. His performance is equal doses pitiable and menacing, good and bad, black and white. Without him, Shark sinks. Ha Suk Jin (Joon Young) and Park Won Sang (Detective Byeon) play the most consistently sympathetic individuals in the series. They also feel the most like the “good guys,” in a story where you can never know who to trust. My first extended experience with Son Ye Jin was lackluster; I believe it may be the fault of the writers, since the young Hae Woo resounds more than her dithering adult counterpart. She felt most like a straw man whose purpose was to lead us through Yi Soo's machinations. I did like Honey Lee in her turn as Secretary Jang. Her interactions with the character of Dong Soo were surprising but much needed comedic gold. There's absolutely nothing to complain about regarding Shark's musical repertoire. Instrumental tracks play their part without becoming heavy handed. Two vocals stand out: Boa's haunting ballad "Between Heaven and Hell,” and the soulful offering “Sad Story” of Boohwal's Jung Dong Ha.
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