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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 11


The tone takes a turn for the somewhat mundane here as I-kyeong uses business acumen to further drive a rift between the various members of the Park family without their really having any idea what's going on. The tendency of characters to underestimate I-kyeong is one of the finer subtle plot points in "Night Light". One reason it's so easy is because I-kyeong doesn't really have any kind of decisive victory to claim credit for. That makes them think they can come out on top of the double cross later on.

It's one of the better examples of subtle sexism I've seen in media because really, I-kyeong being a woman is the only reason I can come up with for Moo-sam and Moo-il being so willfully blind. They would see a man as a more obvious threat. Indeed, Gun-woo has been sidelined pretty much entirely because Moo-sam and Moo-il have convinced themselves the younger man could take this opportunity to usurp them, in blatant disregard of all current characterization of the actual leads.

But aside from that characterization there is, as usual, not very much here. The ridiculously long-winded build-up to Se-jin's training makes the brevity of her role here especially puzzling. Considering how many times I-kyeong has "tested" Se-jin in the past, from Se-jin's perspective, the cliffhanger could easily just be another such test. This really makes a mess of the dramatic tension- by this point the viewer and the characters should be on the same page.

The real problem, though, is just the generally dry business transaction nature of the plot, with deals that devoid of context are completely unremarkable. At this point the story is so excessive with detail to financial minutae I'm beginning to wonder if writer Han Ji-hoon read a book about this stuff and is just determined to regurgitate every minor detail into "Night Light". It's hard to think of any other reason why this material is given such disproportionate focus.

Consider the conversation Tak has with Se-jin. It's actually fairly interesting in its own right, if somewhat gossipy, but Tak as a character is so underdeveloped we actually know surprisingly little about him. So the man's statements carry little dramatic weight although it certainly feels like they should. The romantic elements in "Night Light" in general suffer from the same weakness, even as the script implies they ought to be fairly central to the conflict.

Review by William Schwartz

"Night Light" is directed by Lee Jae-dong, written by Han Ji-hoon and features Lee Yo-won, Jin Goo, UEE, Choi Il-hwa, Choi Min and Shim Yi-young.

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