[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Finding Argenta" 2015/08/21,
Seung-hee (played by Lee Soo-kyeong-I) is a pole vaulter. Pole vaulting is one of the more gimmicky Olympic sports- basically you use a pole to leap over a high bar. Like all obscure Olympic sports, it's something the athletes do more out of love than glory. And even though Seung-hee is a fairly talented athlete, she's starting to break down in frustration about no longer being at the top of her game. Her parents, having met because they too were pole vaulters once upon a time, help Seung-hee out by getting her a spot with top coach Jin-ah (played by Kim Hee-jeong),...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 16 Final 2014/04/08,
Why does Se-ro hate himself? We've seen evidence of the fact that he hates himself throughout the entire run of "The Full Sun", but he's been so wrapped up in Yeong-won's problems that Se-ro has never really stopped to question his motivation. In the opener to this episode, Yeong-won finally forces him to engage on this point. And it really is the one essential moment that the drama has been building up to.
Se-ro has constantly felt guilty and frustrated. The problem is he's never had anybody to talk to about these feelings, because everyone he's emotionally close to has been directly promoting the behavior that's been making him so miserable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 15 2014/04/07,
As fun as all this circular emotional grandstanding is, inevitably, something does have to happen in order for "The Full Sun" to actually end. And that something ends up being a chase over documents that are somhow really essential to exposing the fakery behind all the schemes of the drama. I'm not sure what these documents are supposed to do or how any of the characters were able to find them or each other. So the mechanics of that story hook fall down a little flat.
The rest of the drama, though, is as strong as ever. We finally learn what Kang-jae's motivation has been this whole time, and it's pretty disappointing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 14 2014/04/01,
Take note of the rather anticlimactic car chase that opens the episode up. The characters are driving at moderately fast speeds. There's no real reason for this to turn into any kind of serious confrontation. And then, almost out of nowhere, something very serious happens that makes Kang-jae wonder what exactly he's even doing anymore. It's only for a brief moment, yet the sentiment remains. Kang-jae clearly has had multiple reasons to reconsider his course of action, yet stubbornly plows ahead anyway,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 13 2014/03/31,
Yeong-won comes into her own this episode as far as personal agency goes. Instead of weeping in frustration at the sidelines, she insists on taking a personal stake in the greater storyline. This affects her character quite a bit. For most of this drama Yeong-won has just been a passive observer in a plot that she hasn't been allowed to participate in, because her family is pretty terrible about giving her confidence about anything except technical diamond work.
Here, Yeong-won straight up apologizes for her own failures. Technically speaking, of course, Yeong-won's only fault has been placing trust in a family that doesn't deserve it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 12 2014/03/25,
When watching the opener to this episode, take a moment to consider the situation Yeong-won is in. She does not want to trust Se-ro. But I'm starting to wonder when she ever trusted anyone. Yeong-won may have had a bubbly happy existence with her fiance at the beginning of the drama, yet those scenes increasingly feel like the exception to a life that's really been pretty morose outside of diamonds.
What makes this conflict particularly heartbreaking is that Yeong-won's cynical aloof attitude toward intimacy is probably the best course of action, all things considered,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 11 2014/03/24,
Se-ro gets stuck in a corner regarding bad revelations, so he responds in kind, throwing more bad revelations out at other characters fairly randomly in an effort to to just put an end to the story once and for all. This does not go well, mostly because the con artists and Yeong-won's family simply get another chance to prove that they aren't rational actors, and throw their own shocking revelations at one another in a desperate attempt to...uh...
I give "The Full Sun" a lot of grief for building the plot around a scam that doesn't really make much sense,...More
[HanCinema's Drama review] "The Full Sun" Episode 10 2014/03/18,
Yeong-won is, at this point, running into bad information about Se-ro practically by accident. It's difficult to take her new discoveries seriously from a perspective of storyline mechanics. The woman is quite literally discovering new information just from being in the right place at the right time. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say the wrong place at the wrong time, given that Yeong-won isn't exactly thrilled by the discoveries.
"The Full Sun" is making a point of sticking to the harsh emotional cruelty of these discoveries,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 9 2014/03/17,
Yeong-won's family are kind of like reverse mobsters. Whereas actual mobsters try to make a point of separating business from personal vendettas, Yeong-won's family are attacking her in ways that simply don't even make sense, and are paying the price for it by having everything backfire so spectacularly. So far all they've managed to do is alienate the woman and make her more angry. Not much of an accomplishment.
Even as intimidators they're pretty incompetent,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 8 2014/03/11,
At this point even the characters don't actually care about the elaborate con artist scheme anymore. I'm kind of astonished at the extent to which everyone in this drama is such a romantic busybody. Given the circumstances of the situation it's not exactly inconceivable that Se-ro and Yeong-won would want to hook up. But no, a good con artist is supposed to avoid emotional attachments. Also Yeong-won isn't allowed to be happy.
Normally the phrase "isn't allowed to be happy" refers to a narrative conspiring to create tragedy in a person's life for no good reason. But in this case it really is just a matter of characterization,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 7 2014/03/10,
The focus this time is on how terrible Yeong-won's family is. We've had lots of exposition up until now about what a terrible family it is- lots of talk about secret past motivations or stuff that happened off-screen. But it's been falling pretty flat since there's been very little in the actual performances to get across what makes these people so terrible. This episode, all that changes, as we suddenly get a portrait of a family that genuinely doesn't even like each other that much.
It seems kind of silly to me that they've all been putting up this effective facade for what, years? Decades? And it's only now that the con artists show up that they're having trouble keeping it up?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 6 2014/03/04,
I have trouble keeping track of the secrets in this drama. Some of them seem really obvious but half the characters don't know them yet. Others kind of come out of nowhere, and then, once more, I'm stuck trying to guess how many characters have figured this out and at what point a sudden revelation is going to pop out and spin everything on its head. Basically, while I think I know what's going on here, I'm never really sure.
The weird thing is, described abstractly like this, "The Full Sun" actually sounds kind of exciting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 5 2014/03/03,
We finally get a good grasp on what the greater con artist plan is. And it's a pretty dumb plan, as expected. However, it's not dumb in the metatextual sense, in that it requires all the characters to be idiots. It's a perfectly workable plan that will probably achieve the con artists' goals in the short term. The problem is that in the long term the plan will almost certainly result in all of them being viciously murdered. Stealing diamonds is one thing, but messing around with loved ones?
I actually like this bit about the con artists,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 4 2014/02/25,
Let's consider Yeong-won's character for a moment. In the first episode she was fairly bright and optimistic about life. The woman was dead-set on the whole marriage issue and was willing to persevere in the most difficult circumstances to get what she wanted. Even though Yeong-won's trade of choice is quite literally diamonds, her life is surprisingly lacking in cutthroat tendencies.
Well, was anyway. Yeong-won in the present day is a wholly different character,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 3 2014/02/24,
Apparently this drama is still setting up the premise and storyline. For some reason I assumed that Se-ro already knew all the same basic background information of the plot that we did. But no, it pretty much takes him the whole episode to get all that information straightened out in his head. Which puts a bit of an odd spin on the man's actions up until that point. Particularly in regards to Yeong-won.
Basically, Se-ro is being the cool aloof type, the kind that gets plastered all over bad romance novels,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 2 2014/02/18,
Se-ro (played by Yoon Kye-sang) finds himself in an awkward position. The guy just wants to have another talk with his dad Do-joon (played by Lee Dae-yeon), but ends up finding some guy clearly being held prisoner against his will for reasons not particularly clear. The frustration in this moment is palpable. Se-ro is angry on multiple levels- mostly just for the clear slight against himself, finding that his father is engaged in unnecessary criminal enterprises.
And then there's the gunshot. Once more it's not at all clear what's going on with the storyline here,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 1 2014/02/17,
Yeong-won (played by Han Ji-hye) is a woman whose lifelong dream has been to attend an international jewlery convention and win the grand prize for best jewlery or something. Is there anybody who can relate to this? Granted, I'm a guy, and I'm not a big fan of diamonds considering where most of them come from. At the same time, though, "The Full Sun" does almost nothing insofar as explaining why an unengaged person (no pun intended) should care about a bunch of shiny rocks.
The focus, rather, is on explaining how the events in this drama conspired to cause a tragic unnecessary death,...More
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