Friday, July 13, 2012

Drama Short: What Happened in Bali (2004) Review

What Happened in Bali poster

Grade: C+

What it’s about
Downtrodden and impoverished Lee Soo-jung sells her soul (and a few other things of value) to a spoiled chaebol while dealing with her feelings for his sad-eyed rival, a poor man whose hard work and iffy morals bring him professional success.

Initial impression
A slow beginning nearly had me saying annyonghi kyeshipshiyo to this Korean hit, but the plot picked up significantly by episode 10.

Final verdict
A dark, easy-to-watch drama that explores humanity’s less noble impulses: jealousy, greed, obsession, and violence. What Happened in Bali boils down to twenty very long episodes filled with terrible people doing terrible things to each other, with no possibility of redemption in sight. While Que Sera Sera made misery seem sexy, this show just makes it seem … miserable. In short, the Wuthering Heights of Korean drama (only less good). Worth watching if you’re a fan of pitch-black melodramas that focus on overblown tragedies, but maybe not otherwise. (Be prepared for a nasty O. Henry twist ending, if you do watch.)

Stray thoughts
• Everywhere I go, there’s Ha Ji Won. Which is a pity, because I think she’s totally uninteresting: the only time I’ve ever enjoyed watching her on screen was King 2 Hearts.

• Hot leads, but 2004 was clearly a bad year for male hairstyles.

Episode 9: Man, that was the most soul-besmirching wish-fulfillment shopping spree ever.

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