Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sign Review (2011)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Newbie Dr Go Da Kyung joins the NFS after being inspired by the straightshooting and direct Dr Yoon Ji Hoon. Her persistence and enthusiasm combined with his determination to find the truth make the pair a great forensics investigation team. Coupled with help from Prosecutor Jung Woo Jin and Officer Choi Yi Han, will they be able to put their biggest criminal foes behind bars?

*Spoiler warning*
    Screenwriting: B+

    This is the third drama I've watched penned by Kim Eun Hee (the other two being Ghost & Three Days) and also the earliest of the three. She is fairly unmatched in her ability to keep a firm grasp on the plot in order to create a captivating, yet believable thriller. While I can see her work in Ghost and Three Days are more mature, the groundwork is already there in this drama and I was quite pleased with most of the writing for this series. Many of the crimes were quite engrossing and very well filmed (with subtle clues being provided to the viewer if you're alert). Unfortunately, I have to say that the ending was very unsatisfactory and completely ruined the whole flow of the story for me. Although creating a surprise ending is desirable in some cases, this ending definitely had solid alternative conclusions that would have made the viewing experience much more wholesome and complete. Bizarre is the closest description I can find to describe this unexpected finale.

    Park Shin Yang as Yoon Ji Hoon: A
    Kim Ah Joong as Go Da Kyung: B

    Park Shin Yang & Kim Ah Joon chemistry: D+

    Park Shin Yang plays the prickly and uncompromising Dr Yoon Ji Hoon who gets paired with eager rookie Dr Go Da Kyung played by Kim Ah Joong. Both do an exemplary job with their characters and although their romantic chemistry is a bit weak, their collegial relationship help to make this an entertaining experience. I have to point out Park Shin Yang's most notable scenes in this drama are likely his comedic moments, which are priceless and totally unexpected. Uhm Ji Won and Jung Gyu Woon do a great job as the main supporting leads and even the rest of the supporting cast deserve kudos for a very solid performance (including everyone who played criminals - those were excellent portrayals).

    This OST provided a very appropriate soundtrack to a very thrilling drama. The use of the violin in some of the tracks was definitely a good choice for a thriller. The sense of urgency and anticipation is conveyed throughout the music and paired quite well with the events of the drama.There were also some unique choices such as the use of a remixed version of 'Der Erlkonig'. That was a very inspired selection given the eeriness of Schubert's composition matched well with the dark, foreboding nature of some of the criminals in this drama.

    I wanted to like this drama very much given the strong start and the impeccably fine level of control the screenwriter had on the script (which is often rare for thrillers). Sadly, the flow and energy started dissipating near the end and completely ruined it for me with a totally unsatisfying conclusion. This was made worse by the fact that a more appropriate, albeit predictable, conclusion could easily have capped off the overarching saga. This wasn't a case like Black & White where the screenwriter was clearly drowning in the complexity of the plot. No, this was simply a case where the more straightforward conclusion was unfortunately traded off with one that tossed in the element of surprise and unpredictability. IMHO, this was a poor decision that marred what was otherwise a very satisfying run.

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