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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 3

2017/02/06 | 690 views | Permalink

Incredible though it may seem, Amogae has not actually lost faith in the justice of the legal system just yet. That's especially impressive considering how he spends most of this episode languishing in jail, suffering from the effects of torture. There certainly is a disconnect between what "justice" means depending on how well-connected a person is. It's almost as if the powers that be aren't actually interested in following the rule of law at all, and have to be shamed into doing so through public outrage.

The modern political parallels are difficult to ignore. Remember that right now South Korea is going through impeachment proceedings of a president who stubbornly refuses to resign, even though she will almost certainly be forced out of office. And even if Park Geun-hye does avoid being removed from office, it will just be so she can serve as a lame duck for a few more months.

It's exactly the kind of petty attitude that's fully encapsulated by the villains in "Rebel: Who Thief Who Stole the People". They're inconveniencing a huge number of citizens and wasting government resources to do what? Make a point about how they have the right to trample all over the weak? Amogae himself aptly encapsulates the irony of this by mentioning how without slaves, there's no concept of masters. They can only push so far before eventually the lower classes realize they outnumber their tormentors.

What further keeps the villains from becoming too cartoonish is their sheer pettiness. Observe how at one point a scheme is developed to put little Gil-dong in danger. The monstrousness inherent in sending an adorable little child to an almost certain death is completely lost on the villain. Because, in her own twisted mind, she's right. Not in any moral or ethical sense, but the technical legal sense.

You know that Bible quote, about how the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath? The same principal applies to legal systems. The dogmatic obsession the villains have with the letter, rather than the spirit, of the law is what will ultimately doom them, because in reality they care about neither. Amogae has time and again proven himself to be an exceptionally intelligent, capable man who in a more egalitarian world would have been a high-ranked minister. It's only a matter of time before the villains give up on rules altogether, and even if they win in the end, in the meantime, there will be blood.

Review by William Schwartz

"Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" is directed by Jin Chang-gyoo (진창규), Kim Jin-man, written by Hwang Jin-yeong and features Kim Sang-joong, Yoon Kyun-sang, Kim Ji-suk, Lee Honey and Chae Soo-bin.

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