Review – Remember

Review – Remember

Wow.

Seriously.

One of the best shows I have ever watched, ever.  Anywhere.  And it seemed kinda “eh” starting out, but a few episodes in and I was hooked and then… I just ate it up.  The characters!  The plot!  Honestly, the last episode was so emotionally draining (good and bad) that I think it may be a while until I can write up a decent review.  So for now… I just wanted to put this placeholder in, saying:  WATCH IT.

This is a finely crafted work of art.

Plot Basics:  A young man’s father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is accused of murder and sentenced to death row.  The young man, who has incredible photographic memory, dedicates his life to clearing his father’s name.  Add to the mix one of the most memorable villains of all time, and you have this amazing show… that just keeps getting better as it goes.

Overall Rating – 10/10.  The Truth Does Not Speak For Itself.

More about the characters and mild spoilers follow

So…

This was one of those rare shows that gave you good guys and bad guys and then made you hate the good guys and kinda sympathize with the bad guys and by the end of it… even though you were happy with the results, you still felt sad.  Because it was all so human.  And they were all so well developed you understood them and their motivations and the complexities behind their decisions.  People are, after all, just people.  Monsters aren’t born, they are created.  And though there was an obvious monster or two in this show, there were actually layers upon layers of people who let the monstrous side of win on occasion and thus obstructed justice and ruined others for their own benefit.  Other lawyers.  Businessmen.  Cops.  Coworkers.  Friends and family.  Even the victims, in their inaction, were an obstruction to justice.  This show really painted a picture of why justice can be such an elusive creature…

I love Yoo Seung-Ho… I loved him Warrior Baek Dong Su… I loved him in I Miss You.  He carries sooo much emotional weight in his eyes.  I call him the boy who swallowed a Tardis.  Of course… he does seem very, very boyish.

He’s a child prodigy in this show, so it was okay that it looked like a teenager was running around in prosecutor’s robes.  His character was steadfast and unique the entire show.  In a way, his boyishness makes him an awkward actor to cast… cause he’s ethereal, in a way.  Otherworldly.  He’s not an action hero, he’s not a romantic lead, he’s not a gangster, he’s too memorable looking to be a regular side character… he’s something else.  And this role was perfect for him – as that something else.

Opposite him, more than the leading lady, was the older “shady” lawyer… played by Park Sung-Woong.  This was one of the most finely crafted characters in dramaland. He was both good and bad.  He was both right and wrong.  You felt terrible for him… and you felt like hitting him.  And you loved him and hated in him in equal measure.  He was… quite possibly… one of the most memorable characters in television history.

Snaps to the perfect casting and to the costuming department for creating the perfect wardrobe for this guy.  Everything was perfect.

Of course, if you’ve seen it, I think it goes without saying who the real star of the show was.  And it wasn’t the two male leads.  It wasn’t the good guy or the “shady” good/bad guy.  It was the bad guy.  The real bad guy.  The crazy-as-shit guy.  Played by Namgung Min to perfection.

Let’s just say this actor had fun with his role.  He had so many little ticks and mannerisms and freak outs and explosions and sheer terrifying moments that I was blown away.  Just… deliciously evil.  A spoiled prince with no sense of consequences.   He was, sadly, the product of his upbringing.  He’d never learned anything – not friendship, no love, not loyalty, not compassion… cause he’d never seen them or experienced them.  In a way, he was a hideous portrait of what bad parenting will do.

Full confession – what happened to him, in the last episode, had me bawling.  It was so profoundly sad to me.  I cried more over his fate than anyone else’s and I still get kind of choked up thinking about him.  I don’t think there was any other option for his character though.

And I will probably always think of him as one of the best villains of all time.  If you haven’t seen this show and you are reading this… please watch it.  Please, please please.  Just to see him get pissed off that some woman cut him off in traffic and proceed to pull her over and bash in her windshield with a golf club.

You really can’t talk about the bad guy without talking about his secretary, played with sheer brilliance and vulnerability by Lee Si-Un.  Lee Si-Un is one of those guys who pops up as side characters in tons of dramas and you always like seeing him but later will be hard placed to remember his character.  Not so in this drama.  I will never forget him.

He played the secretary/manager and accomplice of the villain… a childhood “friend” that would never quite be a friend.  There was something desperate and sad and conflicted about this character that is hard to describe.  This is someone who has been a witness to the best and worst aspects of extreme wealth, and though he’s taken part in it, he’s never been a real player.  He’s a trained dog.  And constantly reminded of it.  Kept close, so that the world outside of his master seems faraway and strange, but yet never allowed to sit at the table.  His life was so uncomfortable and pitiful and sad.  I was overwhelmed by how well this show was able to bring to life this subtle side character.  That’s a mix of good acting, good direction, and a damned fine script.

Of course, I am also bias… as Lee Si-Un is literally my favorite “other guy” actor.

The lead female, unfortunately, was one of the least interesting characters.  Played by Park Min-Young, I never disliked her but I was never particularly invested in her story.  Probably because she didn’t have a story.  Her story was hanging onto someone else’s story.  Still, it was a solid performance and I enjoyed her interaction with everyone.  She was basically the “good” character – and used as an example of that, even to show how sometimes your goodness can be your blindness.

She looked extremely young and innocent, much like our male lead, so they seemed to make a nice pair.  There isn’t much of a romance to this story, people… which I approved of, as it really wouldn’t have gone well with the story, but their friendship and support of one other was palatable and felt true.

I won’t talk about the plot much, as it’s too fun to explore naturally as the show unfolds.  I will say it was remarkable.  The pacing was spotless.  Every episode was great.

Sigh.  I loved it.

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