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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 4

2016/09/10 | 1200 views | Permalink

The production team continues with the very wise decision to be more about drama than forced comedy. We see this episode even more clearly that Hae-seong, as utterly obnoxious as he can be given the opportunity, is really just looking for the chance to be a good guy. It's uncanny how well Hae-seong is able to compose himself during action scenes. While ostensibly acting is the actual important part of his job, note how Hae-seong does not appear to be using a stunt double. That's dedication which can't easily be faked.

Meanwhile, So-hye struggles with her main conflict- not really knowing what she wants. So-hye knows full well in the aftermath of her big night out that she acted like a drunken idiot and is rather ashamed about this. What's most interesting about So-hye as a character, though, is the way she ping-pongs between desperately wanting emotional fulfillment and then beating herself up for being so bold as to act proactively in order to get it.

This duality runs pretty rampant through all the character arcs. Note how Seol obviously hates her day-to-day life and barely even pretends to hide this fact from the people she sees every day. Yet given the opportunity, Seol goes hog-wild (hohoho) with her motorbike, a completely impulsive present borne out of So-hye simply not caring anymore what happens to her money since she lacks anyone to leave it to in the event of her death.

Sang-wook (played by Ji Soo) rounds out the leads as Seol's love interest. He differs in two very important ways from the other three. First, he's much younger than they are- by about fifteen years, it looks like. Not coincidentally, Sang-wook is the only character who wears his heart on his sleeve. Yes, technically he lies about his motivation in regards to the motorbike. But it's pretty obvious to anyone who's thought about the question why Sang-wook would do something so ridiculous with it

"Fantastic" is a very good drama when it's focusing primarily on its characters, rather than the frequently absurd situations and forced comedy that at times receive too much emphasis. Context is everything here, but only when it relates to present-day action. So-hye is an interesting protagonist, not because she is dying, but because the act of dying forces her to face flaws and failures that she would otherwise have avoided well into old age. In this way "Fantastic" questions life itself, and what we want from it.

Review by William Schwartz

"Fantastic" is directed by Jo Nam-gook, written by Lee Seong-eun and features Kim Hyun-joo, Joo Sang-wook, Park Si-yeon and Ji Soo.

 

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