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Eve korean drama review
51 people found this review helpful
by unterwegsimkoreanischenD Flower Award1 Coin Gift Award1
Jul 22, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Overall 9.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10.0
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.0

Dynamic with high intensity caused by a sheer impossible tension between self-control & surrender

Revenge and KDrama obviously go extremely well together. TV productions are full of it. Actually, the revenge-motiv appears to be eternally young, being grippingly re-staged over and over again. "Eve" from the year 2022 is one of them - idiosyncratic, with an unmistakable coat of paint. "Eve" is about a long-planned vendetta against one of the most powerful Jaebeol clans in the land. "Eve" may join a long list of KDramas in the revenge genre. However, this KDrama scores with its very own charismatic aura.

Premise of the revenge-plan against the most powerful: Perfection should be brought down by perfection.
Maximum control should be conquered by maximum control.

If one wants to control life to perfection, what remains is a lifeless, loveless shell. The price of power is transcending one's humanity. The little Jaebeol preschool daughter vividly fights the emotional price of power: she's already learning to play golf, but she's still peeing her pants - she´s overstrained ... Living the Win are her parents and grandparents: feeling and behaving like deities... The perfection of arrogance finds its direct expression in the control, the unscrupulous abuse and the brutal oppression of others. It goes hand in hand with self-control. Yet, the extent of the staging of their 'beauty' and ´perfection´ becomes downright repulsive and turns 'beauty' into its opposite - disgust.

The (dramaturgically chosen) valve grounding the human being in his earthly transient body is the dance. Here especially the tango. Exotic, erotic, heavy, deep, dark. The dance, the rhythm and the music bring you back into your own body. You have to listen to it - in tango to the body of the partner, too. So it's also about perfection here, but it consists of perfectly balancing your own body movements with personal authenticity, feelings and perception. THIS ´perfection´ draws from itself and is not at the expense of others. It culminates in a state of relinquishment of control - an altered state of consciousness. This condition only lasts for the moment of the dance, for the moment of encounter. (The Andalusian flamenco even coined its own term for bringing the dance to perfection: 'Duende'. This concept stands for an almost ecstatic state of consciousness that results from surrendering to the interplay of different brain areas, physical dance technique and emotion.) This moment makes you feel alive - intense, true, pure and innocent.

Throughout the individual episodes the revenge-hungry protagonist (a fantastic So Yae-ji) maintains an extremely high tension between the poles of maximum possible emotional self-control (in the service of the elaborate revenge plan) on the one hand and complete surrender to the sensual, invigorating movements of tango dance on the other. As the dance draws its power and charisma from the depth of the subjective, authentic emotional world, maintaining this tension is almost impossible. In fact the KDrama thrives on this very special dynamic (of the sheer impossible bearing of the tension between self-control and surrender). The result is a consistently high and gripping intensity.

I have read some reviews that accuse this KDrama of the (missing) chemistry of the protagonists or the ending or the resolution of the revenge motive, or even the revenge motive at all. Well, that is of course a matter of taste, too. In any case, I think the motive for revenge suits South Korean authoritarian society. Even today. I also consider the character of Kang Yoon Gyeom being drawn (and acted) extremely well - if the protagonist were sympathetic, open, tangible (and, if you like, more classically attractive), then the relationship dynamics would be more predictable. His repulsive, calculating side suits him. The fact that he is 40 already plus he doesn't really fit the image of classic male love interest suits the role, too. So do those very subtle nuances that reveal his other (touchable, needy) side. He is not extremely likeable. I agree. Yet, thus the provoking relationship with him subtly, unintentionally and unexpectedly develops its own dynamic. The ambivalence - attractive vs. repulsive - comes across quite well in my opinion. A strange chemical mixture, an unknown factor in the revenge plan equation. The reactions triggered by this in turn leads to an ending, that is what it is. ... Either way, revenge NEVER makes you really 'satisfied'. Because the pain of the old wounds or the memory never goes away, and the loss cannot be reversed either. On the other hand, with revenge new karma comes along and is guaranteed to be saddled on top of everything else, which one has to spoon up ... (This is usually overlooked when one sets out to take revenge...)

From my perspective, "Eve" is a haunting KDrama - with a lasting impression for sure.

It might also be worth mentioning:
The staging of the cruelty within the Elite world, their madness as well as the space given for the sexual dimension of the relationship are exceptional for a KDrama. However, these deliberately staged rather animalistic or even archaic aspects of the human species (which are assigned to the evolutionarily older brainstem or reptilian brain) set a sharp contrast to the hypocritical, superhuman self-portrayal of the Jaebeol elite...

---------------------- SIDE NOTE: --- Revenge motive and KDrama - for once wanting to control the elite 'authorities' who otherwise control the rest of the country ---

South Korea (with its comparably recent dictatorship history) is probably one of the places on earth where (perhaps a little bit more than in many other places where rule of law has already gained a somewhat more solid footing) rules still mainly apply to 'simple' people, the masses. The influential Elite, the Jaebeol in particular, namely play their private, own, elitist game. They are isolated from the rest of society. They seem to own the world. They live and rule as they please in their own orbit. When their world collides with the masses, it's annoying, but rarely turns out bad for them. They simply get rid of disruptive factors (or better: let others get rid of them). They enjoy all the freedoms. For them, ordinary people are actually of no worth. They can be substituted. They can be controlled by money or violence.

The state should actually be responsible for objective justice. But 'state' is made up of people. And the less binding the objective rules are handled by these people or the more rules can be bent, stretched and interpreted in favor of the 'perpetrators' from elite circles, the greater the subjective dissatisfaction and the stronger the desire of the 'victims' for vigilantism - the desire for revenge!

However, there is a difference between the desire for revenge/subjective justice and the realistic possibility of actually getting it. For the influential powerful, a few phone calls may suffice. The common people have to be a bit more subtle and sophisticated. Vigilante justice needs to be well planned. Especially if you want revenge on a person from the orbit of the Jaebeol. It costs time and money to be able to penetrate their world at all. In most cases, sworn helpers are also necessary. After all, it is to be expected that the same applies here: a plan is there to be discarded... Not everything can be foreseen. Details have to be improvised. The space for the unexpected can only be calculated with a degree of blurriness.

Against the background of authoritarian South Korean social structure, KDrama and revenge motif often and happily enter into a dramaturgically promising connection. It offers a vicarious valve for the emotions of the many ´victims´ of a corrupt system...

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