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If I have to describe this drama in one word, I'd say it's "nostalgic". It does seem like an obvious choice since it's a story about past life, but making a mere viewer like me constantly feel warm and comforted by the characters and the bond between them is not something other past life stories can easily do. This is the product of seamless writing, talented cast and their acting, mesmerizing music and phenomenal cinematography. This drama is at the very top of productions of its kind, it will stay there for a long time, and it has possibly exceeded the standard value of other genres as well.
The story, for me, sums up into a beautiful story about destiny and camaraderie that surpasses the boundary of time. Instead of being something completely new, it surely makes a lot of new choices in characteristics, settings and storyline.
You will experience this simple concept of love and friendship on two timelines: one is back in 1930s Kyungsung (Old Seoul) when Korea was under Japanese rule, and one is in present time Seoul. Although the present time is their main timeline and their past is shown as their recollection, both timelines have their own weight and are laid out equally well.
The main characters are this story's forte. In the present time, we have a bestselling writer who appears snobbish at first but opens up into a very thoughtful person, a ghostwriter who can look both like a caring gentleman and a lonely lost puppy at the same time, and lastly, a fan who is strong, caring and rather very respectful for someone entitled "number one fan". They really are a bunch of good qualities which you can't help but fall for.
These three characters are then tasked with a mission to find out what truly happened in their past lives that makes things the way they are in present time. As they recall past events together, they develop a strong bond just as how they did in the past – if not even stronger because now they also have a chance to learn things about each other they previously didn't know.
At the same time, their past timeline is where the political genre comes in. It's not heavy on politics at all, I can assure you. It rather weaves this setting into the main message very nicely because here our main characters share their passion in fighting against the Japanese for liberation. It's rather super romantic, I must say. "To protect the love I couldn't protect in my past life. To meet again in a liberated homeland and love freely." – This quote says it all.
Other than that, this story gives you a good laugh. Side characters are as three-dimensional as the main ones, and many of them will surely grow on you. Also, this could be because I'm Korean, but even their dialogues and choice of action are three-dimensional. Every word they speak, everything they do, has a good reference and reason behind it. The constant mention of supernatural beings is witty, and how they involve famous quotes, poems and authors really fits with the plot. I can't praise this drama's writer enough for her super well-done research. There's really no plot hole or boring/dragging moments.
And, oh, did I mention? The said writer is Jin Soo Wan, the amazing writer behind Moon Embracing the Sun and MDL users' all-time favorite Kill Me, Heal Me.
For the cast, I have seen almost every single one of them in their past works, and they still didn't remind me of their other characters at all, which is always important. They were so alive in their roles. I specifically want to praise our leading cast Yoo Ah In, Im Soo Jung and Go Gyung Pyo who had to take on two roles each for their separated present and past characters. They all nailed it. Additionally, Kwak Shi Yang who portrayed the antagonist deserves extreme compliments. The fact that he made me utterly hate his entire being proves that his acting was marvelous. That is an A+ for someone who's been in the industry for merely 3 years.
Another thing I fell in love with was the music. This drama's OSTs are gems – not only because we have golden voices like Baek Yerin and SG Wannabe but because the lyrics were written according to the storyline. The music cues are planned out so well that it's almost cunning. They appear at every right moment to add meaning to what we're seeing on screen, and often times they call for tears. In other words, they are not just background music but part of the storytelling itself. Don’t ever forget to read the meaning of those songs, and you’ll be in awe.
Likewise, the cinematography, the costumes, sets and their props are also impeccable. "Visually stunning" describes this entire production. This is one of those few dramas that you can pause at any moment and get a beautifully-composed still image. Present day Seoul and 1930s also have a clear line between them – both done beautifully from a lot of research. The color is graded in a cozy lukewarm tone and will make you feel like watching a beautiful independent movie on a big screen.
Romantic, evocative, delicate, sentimental, homely.
“Nostalgic” it is. Nostalgic really sums up everything.
Witnessing how this drama played out every week felt just like witnessing a piece of art. I never thought I'd have a chance to give straight 10s on a review, but this drama felt like an exception from the very beginning, and it never disappointed me until the end. If this isn't enough to make you decide to watch, I don't know what else will.
I don't think I'll be able to get over this drama in a very long time. This drama is my home.
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But let's start with a compliment:
I enjoyed the lead female character. This kind of nice, independent, no-nonsense lead female character has been a rare item in the Korean drama industry. I'm saying she's strong as in not TOO comically strong or bratty as well. Eun Hawon character is really likable, and it's the only part that makes sense why this kind of reverse harem plot works. The boys in the house genuinely like her, and I accept it. Most of the Korean dramas that go for either this generic reverse harem plot or the strong lead girl plot usually fail to deliver them naturally. I grew fond of her the most and her character made me stick around.
Another good point that somehow kept me around was the sweet moments and the chemistry between the lead characters. I could feel that they really care for each other. Nothing was forced. The love story wasn't rushed. I enjoyed it. Sometimes the sub plots dragged on for too long and their sweet moments would restore my faith for this show.
Now onto the bad part:
From the title: Cinderella and Four Knights, there are no four knights at all. They're trying to sell that this is a reverse harem kind of story, with one lead girl and four lead guys and such, but it only lasted probably up to the first few episodes. The first few episodes promised you a love triangle which was cliche but still entertaining.
From somewhere early in the series, however, out of *four* knights: 1) one of them loses complete interest in the lead female and goes back to the second lead female he ditched long ago for unexplained reasons, 2) one of them grows to like the lead female yet takes care of the second lead female to an unreasonable extent, 3) one of them likes the lead female genuinely but, of course, the plot won't allow them to even meet and talk properly, 4) and the last one of them leaves the *knight* title ever so quickly and branches out to his own super cliche sub plot although he has so much potential in everything from acting to his looks to his chemistry with the lead female.
It felt so much like the writers lured us into such F4 - Boys Over Flowers kind of settings, then ditched us to an extremely cliche plot that revolved more around the second lead female – who I have to use the word "annoyingly boring" to describe. I like Son Naeun as a member of A Pink, but I believe her acting is very bad – or this character does not shine a light on her as an actress at all. Her character is an "I-only-look-at-you" kind of pitiful(?) girl, but somehow the story (or her acting) made her evil. I thought she was going to grow into a likable second female lead because she was one of a few second leads that don't act evil towards the lead female character. However, her damsel-in-distress situations only turned her into a "I don't care if I look evil, I just want to own one of these rich guys" kind of character.
She has the looks and she's from a well-raised background. She was also incredibly stubborn for (literally) unsaid reasons while she could just go out and have a happy life while forgetting these main guys. Plus, her interest in fashion design seemed useless. It played no part in the plot, and I wish writers would stop stereotyping fashion design major as a "high class" thing. Beautiful barbie-like female characters don't need to like fashion to look sophisticated. Try harder.
Likewise, I didn't enjoy the stereotypes in this story at all. Jung Ilwoo's character (Kang Jiwoon) was built around a quiet, rebellious guy with a troubled past, so they gave him a street-racer persona while in the story it was just him fidgeting with his toy cars from time to time. It didn't look cool and rebellious. It looked pathetic.
Ahn Jaehyun's character (Kang Hyunmin) – the playboy successor of Haneul Group – can he be even more cliche than this? I mean, playboy chaebols are fun to have in a story, but this characteristic of him progressed to nowhere. He was out with random girls for only 2 or 3 episodes at the beginning. At the same time, he's a supposed successor of their family business, but I see him lazing around inside the mansion the *entire* series. In fact, he doesn't seem very aloof. He has a heart, but they didn't make use of it at all.
Lee Jungshin's character (Kang Seowoo) is a musician. Why? There's no back story to his characteristics. He's popular and is a good singer and he's very nice. Rich and romantic, yet he seemed the most unattached to the entire chaebol family. Again, there's nothing bad about this, I just feel like this musician character is very stereotypical. And again, for a chaebol grandson who's *finally* nice and decent, he's out of the picture from the first half of the series. He likes the main girl alone, feels sad alone, and lets her go alone. His music plays almost no part in putting his character together with the main girl or other guys, and despite that, there's no explanation in why he fails to convey his love to the main girl at all. (Oh, wait, why? Because the writer doesn't want that. Then WHY did they even make his character up at all?)
I still forced my way through the end purely because of the lead female character. She was the only decent one in the entire series. The "missions" and "part-time job" that put her in these guys' mansion made me cringe though. And although she's naturally kindhearted, genuinely wanting the boys to reunite as a family was a bit odd, given that she hasn't been raised in a warm *family* as well.
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To me, Radiant Office belongs to the slice-of-life and romance genre. After all, it was made to be an office romance kind of show. Comedy is almost non-existent here, although that does not mean that this show is dark. It is fun, but if you're here expecting slapstick humor kind of fun, you're in the wrong place.
On the outer level, Radiant Office is a bunch of Korean drama clichés packed together. There's a boss-employee relationship, office settings, fatal disease, and some chaebol family problems. However, on the inside, Radiant Office has a very warm and cozy tone – the complete opposite of those dramas that have the same cliché background.
This is built mainly on their warm and cozy characters. I know that the poster and the synopsis can make our lead female character look very extreme, but she's not, as well as the rest of the crew. They're rather very relatable human-beings. They go through problems (that can sometimes be too dramatic, but again, I can totally overlook that for the fact that this is a drama), but the way they tackle these problems and overcome these situations are so human-like.
You will definitely learn a thing or two at every twist and turn here. When you feel like you can relate to their problems, you'll surprisingly feel comforted by their words and actions. I also love how there's no true "evil" in this story. Whenever someone does something bad, the show progresses in the way you can finally understand that supposed "bad" intention and come to accept that flaw. There are times when good characters make bad decisions as well. This show never tries to perfect or sugar-coat things to make the ordinary viewers like me feel ugly or uncomfortable.
The characters here are all built on the same ground. There's no "rich and powerful" and "ugly duckling" kind of combination. Even if there is a rich and powerful person, they all still have good qualities *as much as* their bad ones. The part that makes this fun to watch is that most of their qualities don't overlap each other. Throughout the show, the best quality of one person will fulfill the bad part of another and so on. It makes everyone complete. This is very heartwarming to see. Trust me, you will fall in love even with the small roles that show up only once every 3-4 episodes (like the secretary or the convenience store worker or our main lead's younger brother). The characters in this show are really that lovely.
Like I said, subtleness is the key here. I swear I enjoyed the tiny reactions between our two main leads so much and found myself blushing at their chemistry way more than when main leads of other dramas hate each other too much before falling in love with each other. The satisfaction when he slightly takes care of her or acknowledges her talents is real. And, no matter how strong her character is, she's still the little girl who likes to be taken care of in front of him. Their love slowly grows on you.
I started watching this show without ANY expectation because of the cast. I haven't seen some of these actors, but for the ones I've seen, I can say that this is their best drama so far. I've got nothing much to say. They're very well-suited for their roles.
Honestly, they didn't use their OSTs in the way that they receive enough recognition although there are quite some quality ballads. However, I don't remember feeling awkward with the background music while watching. I can only give it a 7/10.
I personally rarely rewatch shows. For people who do, I can picture you rewatch it for the life lessons and cozy love story. However, it's less likely to be rewatched and still enjoyable because business talks can be too long in some episodes.
Still, despite the so-so music, the clichés, and the low rewatch value, I still give it an 8.5/10. I don't care about the low rewatch value; a drama is never made to be watched over and over again anyway. Comparing to very upbeat and sweet romcoms, I give high score to this one for its approach in telling the story. This was never made fancy for the ratings from the start. This was made for people who like to lean back and appreciate things.
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It's been exactly 3 weeks since I completed this movie, and I've made sure that I'm not emotionally attached or blindingly giving full scores. I can't find any fault in this piece, still. I never had such a hard time trying to put my amazement into words. I hate to spoil or guide you to view this film in a certain way, but I believe that the synopsis and the trailer are already a huge spoiler, so here's my attempt to elaborate:
Let me tell you first that this is not a “journey to stardom” kind of music movie or a story about two girls pulling each other's hair and fighting over a guy. Of course it does revolve around the themes of music and jealousy, but there are more to this than just being another love triangle story between musicians.
There is an absolute charm to how its English title accurately describes what this film has to offer. “Love, Lies” speaks for its entire composition: 50% hope and 50% despair, and I don't say that lightly; this film boldly runs for 1 hour telling the story of love, friendship, hope and dreams while building up the tension, then, later at its 50% mark, turns into a story of lies, jealousy, betrayal and broken heart for another hour. It also wraps up with guilt and consequences at the end, leading you to fully sympathize with every decision made by the main character no matter how crooked she’s become.
The setting in 1943-1945, the very end of Japanese occupation era in Korea, was fully utilized here and it intertwined so well with the music theme. It was the last two years that “gisaengs” existed. It was the most modern period of those Japanese backdrops. Also, Korea's liberation at the end of the story plays a good part. Here is where it could become difficult for some people to give this film a high score; the movie does require a little understanding of “musician mindset”.
Music is a form of art, and by art, it means there's no correct answer. It’s very subjective and personal. One may view music as something suitable for high class, but on the other hand it’s never wrong to think that music should belong to people in every social status. This conflict will set lover conflicts in motion in the story. So, think: What if your musician lover prefers someone else’s voice rather than yours? It’s unfavorable, but it’s not wrong, right?
Because the man in question is a musician – a pop music composer, it somewhat allows his unfavorable choices to slip through. It’s quite a given that his mind does not (need to) function entirely logically. He makes choices based on his artistic hunch. When he, according to the synopsis, “falls in love” with his girlfriend’s best friend, I came to fully accept the fact, although I didn’t support his decision either. And that was just one of the many reasons I loved how thoroughly planned the writing for this film was.
The Korean title for this movie “Hae-eo-hwa” is another old term for “gisaeng”, women who received high education in music to perform in front of and entertain men of high social status. “Hwa” means flower, so “haeeohwa” also means “a flower that understands human’s words”. The term represents how women (gisaengs) were treated as social inferior. This “haeeohwa” theme plays a big part in the film more than just suggesting the leads’ profession. One woman is willing to follow the guidance of a man she loves, and another goes against her own beliefs and throws herself at another man to gain power to take back what she loves.
All of these are combined into great storytelling, and in the end, you will see for yourself whether it was the “artistic mindset”, the social derogation of women, a man’s swayed heart, a friend’s betrayal… or it was entirely something else that ruined it all.
“Why did ____ not know back then that it was good enough?”
Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on the minor character Kim Okhyang. She doesn’t appear often, but she’s another character that will leave you with many thoughts in the end.
I was stunned by Han Hyojoo’s acting as the sweet yet heartbroken Jung Soyul. Facial expressions were the key to this character’s portrayal, and she was utterly perfect. Casting Chun Woohee as Han Hyojoo’s best friend who needs to look and feel smaller and a bit inferior was also a great decision. Yoo Yeonseok’s laid-back demeanor was definitely suitable for his music composer role. He also deserves compliments for his months of effort in practicing piano just for this movie. Everyone including the supporting cast really made this movie come to life.
As for the music, there are plenty of music movies that fail to deliver an excellent result in the music department. This movie did not just reach my expectation but surpassed it to an exceptional level. Traditional “Jeongga” music and 1940’s trot are not what would appeal to everyone’s ears, but this movie made their music very sweet, easy to listen and memorable. For additional points, the two lead actresses performed every song themselves, and they were spectacular.
Lastly, the artistic department deserves great compliments. Locations, costumes and props were top-notch. Cinematography presented this film in vibrant colors, and the composition was beautiful from the beginning till the end. Everything was grand and aesthetically pleasing here.
I usually don’t rewatch, but I will definitely watch this one many times.
I absolutely recommend this film to everyone.
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Clearly, this IS the 21st episode of Romantic Teacher, Doctor Kim. This is not MDL's fault, however. The production team decided to end Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim at 20 episodes, and label this one an Extra Episode instead. With that being said, you cannot watch this as a standalone drama special. You will need to watch Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim first before proceeding to this one.
I wish they didn't label this an extra though. This episode is what makes the entire series actually complete. It does not start introducing any of the characters again as a new production. It doesn't jump ahead or back in time. It continues smoothly from episode 20 and answers a lot of questions left hanging from the main series. It has a lot going on as well. It's not just a dragging 'filler' kind of episode. So many 'romantic' things are going on here :)
This is definitely a must-watch. Consider your progress 20/21 if you haven't seen this yet.
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I'm glad I finally gave it a try. This one is going to be on my top 5 for a very long time. It's a perfect mix of medical, comedy and romance. Yes, there is great comedy if that's what you normally look for. I would vote this as an equivalent to the American TV series 'House MD'.
First of all, out of all Asian medical dramas I've seen, I really think this one has done the best job. It doesn't take medical elements too lightly, yet it doesn't get too obsessed with 'showing off' medical knowledge either. The story sets inside a hospital, it progresses as they treat patients, there's blood, there's surgeries, and they definitely make you believe everything is real and enjoy every procedure at the same time.
The characters are probably the show's forte. Everyone is great at what he/she does. There are a lot of dramas/movies that go for the 'clumsy' or 'unskilled' main characters who get by because of their 'cute' or 'nice' personality and basically 'pure luck'. That kind of characters belong to romcoms. Romantic Doctor's characters are rather smart in a very likable way. They're not too good to be true also. They do make mistakes, and they also teach you a lot of lessons as they fix them. Characters from main to even some small patients develop in a very satisfying way.
At the same time, the titular character Teacher Kim is the gem of the show. His every word combines into countless inspirational quotes. He's witty and funny and can be sarcastic at times, yet he's very dependable like a father figure to so many characters in the drama. The term 'romantic' isn't used that often in the drama to describe him, however. I did expect that to happen since it's the title of the show. But after watching the entire show, I finally understand why he calls himself like so. "Romantic" here is as in his 'positive, idealistic, hopeful yet realistic' view of life. It's not the 'love and relationship' kind of romantic. It's not about him and his love interest at all. I rather find this point refreshing.
There's also comedy in this drama – actually there is a lot more comedy than you can imagine. Teacher Kim's frequent sarcastic remarks are already funny enough, and the quirky supporting characters add a lot to that. It's not the slapstick kind of comedy, by the way. You've got to know that the tone of this drama is not dark or melancholic at all just because it's set in a hospital and the poster looks gloomy. I smiled and laughed a lot.
Compared to other romance-medical drama, I'd say this one has less romance. Still, it's definitely there. In down moments when they take a break from their main medical scenes, the romance will keep coming back to remind you that it's there, and it's really cute and worth the wait.
I really liked the cast in this one. Everyone has done an amazing job at portraying their roles. I'm so glad they don't go for the unrealistic good-looking doctors. Honestly, this might be a disgrace to the actors, but I'd say they're good-looking just enough to look believable as doctors – not as models walking around the hospital like some medical dramas go for.
Also, after finishing this, the drama special 'Master Kim's First Love' is a must-watch. It should even be considered the 21st/final episode of this series because a lot of unanswered questions will be answered there. It makes the entire show complete.
I don't remember any song from this drama, but I still think it's a medical drama, so OSTs aren't their main point. I also don't choose to re-watch a drama very easily. I wouldn't choose to re-watch this one so soon also because I personally don't need to see all those technical scenes over again. I gave it a fairly high 8/10, however, to honor such a great drama.
I had an amazing experience, and you will as well.
EDIT: I just found the full OST album of this drama, and, wow, it's got an entire album full of quality compositions. If you take time to appreciate them one-by-one with headphones, you'll feel the passion of this drama from it. Still, I'm not changing my scores because this good music barely received spotlight during the show.
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The entire artistic production would receive 9/10 from me for a romcom drama like this. The direction was great; the set and props were outstanding; the cast was full of both eye candy and skills. The cinematography was amazing. It was good to look at. I just wish they gave much more effort into blending their multiple genres together.
I'm never a fan of any of them, but I believe they did a really great job. The set of 3 leads owned their roles. I even believe that the writers wrote this story with Park Boyoung in their mind. Tiny and cutesy role is definitely for her, and she's a good actress as well. This is only my second drama with her, however, and I believe that the next one with her is gonna start boring me a bit. Her tone and acting is just so *her* like she was in Oh My Ghost. This happened to me with Hwang Jungeum in every single drama she was in as well.
The story, however, was a strange mix of romance, comedy, supernatural(?), police investigation, and even bloody thriller. How would they mix into a good storyline? There's no way. I believe they needed to take out at least one, or tone down each of them to make everything flow.
The dynamic of this storyline is super strange. It was like an incredibly bumpy road instead of a smooth rollercoaster. The comedy element was almost too forced that it wasn't funny. Some parts were even disgusting that just made me fast-forward throughout the show.
The thriller part started out really strong in the beginning which tipped off the consistent cute and comical tone of the entire Do Bongsoon character. That villain character was just too over-the-top that the entire sub plot around this guy doesn't fit in with the tone of this story at all.
Plus, the entire reason Bongsoon and Hyungshik got together was because *his* case, not the one in her neighborhood. He was being threatened, and that case was solved so easily and quickly. It was definitely just there to bring the two together.
The love story between the two/three leads was nothing special. Nothing really developed or had an impact on any characteristic change. It was just there out of nowhere. I have to admit that they were cute and fluffy together though. They were almost too cheesy together and I usually don't prefer that kind of super cringy stuff, but I believe it helped even out the darker tones regarding the villain. It still isn't the ideal way for such purpose.
But all in all, I wouldn't keep watching until the end if it wasn't entertaining. Like I said, I liked the cinematography and the cast a lot (surprisingly, given that I'm never a fan of any of them). It was something to watch in my free time and I did take my time to finish it. The bad parts weren't soooo bad that it let me down. At least the first episode started off nicely. If you wanna see for yourself, I don't recommend you against it. I have a reputation for dropping series halfway through if the first few episodes are slow and have too much flashback. This one was fine.
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Paparotti's story is pretty typical in every way – teacher-student relationship, birth of a great musician, gang member turn something great, and a few more. But, the movie is still so alive and sweet thanks to our two leads.
I love Lee Jehoon's character and his acting the most. His gestures, his dialect and the countless emotions he portrays are so real and most of the time so heart-wrenching even when he smiles. Casting him in here was the best decision of this entire production so far.
On the other hand, his character's backstory as a gang member doesn't speak to me much even though I love his bond with his boss Jo Jinwoong's character. This gang story felt repetitive and not a single twist was added for flavor, and it was a bit far-fetched for a countryside high school setting. I know it's based on a true story, but in real life, he wasn't a gang member but merely a school delinquent who beat up his friends. The movie could've been fine that way too.
I also wish it explores more into Han Seokkyu's background as a vocalist. So basically, the story focuses a lot on the bond between teacher and student without touching deep into any specific topic. In that light, it's a good story to watch on a lazy afternoon (with a box of tissue). Their teacher-student relationship was really sweet and gave me a lot of Gokusen vibe, and I always fall for stories of this kind.
The music lived up to its name for being a music movie. The comedy was okay. Overall it was a down-to-earth story that grew on me over 2 hours of its runtime instead of being so fancy and in-your-face from the start. I cried a lot and I'm still listening to "You're the Person Who Gave Me Happiness".
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"I just want people to 'like' me. Is that so wrong?"
Based on the view count, fan-made music videos that followed, and the number of 'Following' on the actress' Instagram that seemingly skyrocketed (I read that from the comments on youtube), this short film definitely succeeded in going viral. Production-wise, you can see that they put a lot of thoughts and effort into making this one. They flew to Japan to film this, and the cinematography and illustration proved its production value. It's nice to look at, and the music is very good as well.
Everyone (in the comments on youtube) agrees to the same idea that the story contains a good message about how you should value your beauty and self-worth from within – that is, if you totally disregard the fact that it's a commercial for a skin care clinic. One of the top comments on the official video said that the skin care clinic logo at the end was like a "slap in the face". "You fell for it, sucker. Now come on down and get your meteorite face fixed."
I'm disagreeing with that point completely. The main message as I see it is to actually care about your beauty "in real life" as opposed to wanting to be "liked" online by using apps to fix your face. If you look at it that way, and maybe watch it again, you'll see that the message is really there, but somehow the majority is not getting it. Either way, both points are still solid. Besides that brand logo at the end, they didn't cooperate the brand into this short film at all.
For me, it's doing well as a short film. The fact that this lacks the quality of being a "Thai" production, though, is a bit too bad.
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This movie had a quite ‘commercial’ mood, meaning they made the overall tone light enough to reach a wide range of viewers. The directing, the cinematography, the atmosphere, even the story and the core message itself weren’t explored in depth. Personally I think It lacked personality, considering the fact that I enjoy independent films where messages are deeper and cinematography targets my ‘aesthetic trash’ self. In the story here there’s only a bit of romance, a bit of friendship, a bit of comedy, a bit of family and a bit of medical, portrayed in a rather vibrant palette. Nothing particularly stood out. Nothing deep.
However, this could be a good point for someone who’s looking for a rather light watch. It’s really nothing grand like its *wrong* choice of tagline: “What if you get 10 chances to change your past?” It doesn’t drive you to calculate your ability for 10 times time-travel that much.
Acting was really great in here. The leads Kim Yoonseok and Byun Yohan were alive in their roles. Other actors also did well. The music didn’t stand out to me, but it wasn’t awkward. It also seems like an easy choice to rewatch, but I don’t really know what I’d rewatch this for. I’m not a re-watcher so don’t mind my score.
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Now, don't get me wrong. Each episode from 1 to 7 wasn't bad; they just didn't add up into a good 7-hour experience for me. They were good one-by-one. If you have seen American series (police or crime series in particular), you'll know how they start an episode with one case and ends it within that episode, and nothing from that episode will affect the next episode at all. As soon as our main detective Park Kwang Ho arrives in 2016, Tunnel plays that card.
For character introduction purposes, not touching on the main plot for a short while is totally okay. However, the length of 7 episodes of doing that is painfully long – 44% in and there's still no progress whatsoever. That point kept bugging me all the way. Apart from that, the main characters are good at their job, so the one-case-one-episode is averagely fun on its own.
I believe that the story picks up around episode 8. From then on until episode 12, the pace of the drama suddenly changes in a good way. These are the most exciting and suspenseful 4 episodes in my opinion. There is a surprising amount of improvements from character development to story revelations. The last phase of the drama, episode 13-16, cools down a lot, but it still keeps playing with the main story. For me, it was fine. By the end of the series, I was more satisfied than I thought when I went through the first half.
It's still too bad that after all those satisfying second half, I still don't see the point of making this a time-traveling drama. Of course, the "tunnel" and the time-traveling play a part in this story. I just think that they could've made use of this theme much more – or dropped that idea completely.
The main character who time-travels lacks a lot of "oldies" qualities I expected to see from its premise. By this I mean that he could've possessed old-school yet surprisingly useful methods that help with the modern crime-solving process, or rather appear really countrified that he looks funny. Instead, he adapts to the modern world so well. If this wasn't a time-travel drama and this character was a detective from the present time, it'll still work just fine. It feels almost as if the writers are using this "time-traveling" trigger word just to call for attention.
At the same time, Tunnel cannot escape a lot of clichés in making their characters and criminals, and even situations. A lot of things were revealed by words rather than actions. Many mysteries are solved in a blink of an eye after dragging them for so long. It's like when things build up to a certain degree and you're almost excited, the next moment it becomes "Oh... That's it?"
The cast and their acting really save the entire show. They're extremely great in every given situation, although again, you'll have to get to the second half of the show to see so. I rated their acting a 10/10 although some small side characters are so-so because they don't have much impact anyway.
The background music and sound effect cues aren't awkward, so I gave it a 7/10, but they mostly just went through my ears instead lingering around for more impact. This is the genre that doesn't need emotional OSTs to play at heartbreaking moments anyway. I still wished I ended it with one or two songs to keep listening to. I ended up with none.
Final thoughts: I wouldn't suggest my friends to watch this for the time-traveling. I would suggest them to watch simply because it's a good crime drama with good acting. I liked it – don't get me wrong after I point out all those cons. I didn't regret watching this show. Also, I barely rewatch dramas, and a crime drama can be either too predictable or too gruesome to rewatch, so I gave that part a low score.
Overall, it's a 8/10 for me because it does only 75~80% of what it initially promised to do. This score is not to be compared with other dramas, especially the ones that are not from this genre.
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