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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cheese in the Trap" Episode 5

2016/01/18 | Permalink

Some very dark story elements come into play in this episode of "Cheese in the Trap". Surprising though it may seem, they don't actually have that much to do with Jeong, our oftentimes spooky first male lead, but rather In-ho, the second male lead who seems to be much more on the level. Director Lee Yoon-jeong appears to be making the point here that superficial appearances can be deceiving, and the point is well taken.

Given the ominous scenes of violence and perversion, it's kind of odd to go from that to pretty much any scene involving Seol, because the tone with Seol is always fairly consistently light. Even when all of this freaky stuff is going on right in the same general area that Seol is in, there's no appreciation of the relative danger and fear because why would she notice any of that stuff? Even when people get mad at Seol it's always for the most petty reasons.

And not sympathetic reasons either. We get a good look at In-ha's backstory and are exposed to more unsettling truths- like how a person can be utterly unlikable and unsympathetic and still be a victim of undeserved cruelty. Somewhat perversely, being understanding of a person in a bad situation can have negative long-term side effects. In-ha is able to rationalize some pretty lousy behavior by constantly thinking of herself as a victim.

But what's most perplexing of all about "Cheese in the Trap" is how none of these plot points are coalescing into a clear story direction. Which once again, is part of the point. College-age people like the ones we see in "Cheese in the Trap" are dealing with these situations for the first time, and frequently have very radically differing ideas as to the proper way to manage conflict resolution.

Jeong, for example, uses implicit threats to bully people he catches acting in an ethically untoward manner. The usefulness of this technique is very limited, yet at the same time, In-ho's more direct approach is equally ineffective in part because In-ho cares too much about what people think of him. And it's not like the flaws in these approaches can be solved with compromise- the issues Jeong and In-ho deal with are just too complicated. It's not possible to solve major personality flaws overnight, or possibly ever. Jeong's last word at the end is, well, it's at bare minimum the most persuasive appraisal of the situation.

Review by William Schwartz

"Cheese in the Trap" is directed by Lee Yoon-jeong, written by Go Seon-hee and Kim Nam-hee and features Park Hae-jin, Kim Go-eun, Seo Kang-joon, Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Ki-bang, Park Min-ji and more.


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