Heartless City: Episodes 5-8

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Oh Heartless City. Why so good? Our heroine finally steps completely into the game, and because she is already on “unnie” terms with Jin Sook, we can bet that she will be on romantic terms with our hero real soon. These episodes had everyone playing Tom and Jerry. Insiders were being revealed left and right, witnesses were being threatened or killed, and the heat has turned up especially on Safari’s part to catch and kill Doctor’s Son. Shi Hyun continues to battle with how to protect himself and the strong bonds he has developed with his fellow gangsters. This drama has a lot going on, so paying attention to even the slightest details can make all the difference in understanding where the plot might be headed.

Important Plot Developments

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-Soo hires Park Eun Hye to kill Jin Sook and fails.
This triggers a cascade of events with Soo and Jin Sook both at each other’s throats. This is bad for Shi Hyun, because once his coup d’état begins to crumble within itself, he is going to fall. For the meantime, he needs to have both of them on good terms or else all of them will die sooner than they need to.

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-Soo Min befriends Jin Sook. She succeeded in her first mission, but I have a feeling that because she is becoming even more acquainted with Jin Sook, this will backfire when she falls in love with Doctor’s Son. According to Jin Sook, he’s her “lover”, which is kind of weird, but we cannot the deny the strong relationship both of them share. I did like that Jin Sook insisted that Soo Min live a regular life before she agreed to teach her the way of a hostess.

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-The deputy commissioner is killed by Safari. This makes Pusan angry and he lets him off with a warning. I was wondering why Safari becomes so submissive when he is in front of Pusan, but if I were him I would be scared too. He knows he has no power to overthrow Pusan (It also seems that Pusan’s son is a psycho).

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-Hyung Min is put on probation and stripped of his title as Team Leader of the Special Unit. Even though Hyung Min could probably do this entire case himself, having the resources of the police at your fingertips is even better. For the meantime he’s on his own which means either he could sneak around and find out more stuff without too many people watching, or this will halt his progress for some time.

Cinematography

I’ve noticed some differences with the cinematography that may be good to point out. First off, since I am writing this when I have already seen episodes 9 and 10, I can make out the gradual distinctions and similarities between the latter episodes and the early ones even more so. I’m noticing that the dark tones that loomed over Doc’s face are now disappearing. As his identity becomes more at risk and the drama draws closer to drawing its curtains, light is now beginning to overcast the darkness. Also, the very direct overhead eagle shots we saw before are slowly being lowered as if they are reminding us that time is running out. More symbolic objects are also being used especially with the ladies. I continue to really enjoy this directors editing style with the juicy bokeh and close ups. It’s like an ominous version of that Winter, That Wind Blows.

-Contrast Shots: Light vs. Dark:
The evil versus good motif continues to be weaved through these shots. I find it very interesting that the first one below with the young Shi Hyun and his Aunt depict them in light while the city is in relative darkness. This is something we don’t really see now that he has gotten older. I really love the streak of light passing through the jail door across Soo Min. She is entering a dark world, and the only light guiding her is the thirst of revenge for Kyung Mi who was killed by the very world she is entering. The most interesting of all these shots for me is Jin Sook’s. She is in complete light, with more light spilling into her silhouette blocking the sight of her face.

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-Viewer becomes an outsider looking in:
There are so many of these. These shots really give us viewers some type of weary feeling that all these characters have something to hide. And you never know what emotions they are willing to ride on in order to survive.

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-Close-up Shots (They keep getting closer):
Before I said the close-up shots were saved for Shi Hyun and Soo Min. Well not anymore. I’m starting to see the camera get closer on a lot of other important characters.
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-Backed turned on camera shot:
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-Slightly tilted birds eyes view:
I just find it funny that there’s a insider in both of these shots. Compared to the previous bird eye view where Hyung Min tries to get info from Jin Sook who refused to give in, that shot was directly overhead. 
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Impending Doom:
When I first saw the angle I chuckled because I knew even though it’s a classic foreshadowing shot, it won’t be the fate of our hero by the end of the episode. He can’t die now…but I would start getting nervous around episodes 18-19 if these pop up again. 
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Mirrors and a Flower: Some symbolic objects I have noticed is Lee Jin Sook and Soo Min being shot in front of mirrors. Also, there was an interesting scene where Doc is pouring liquor for Jin Sook, and he passes the glass to her but the camera is focused on a flower. My initial guess was that this flower is a lotus, and if I am wrong please correct me. I did some poking around and it seems the lotus is heavily symbolic in different cultures and religions including Egyptian, Buddhism and Hinduism. Not sure if the director will bring up this flower again, but in the Egyptian culture the lotus symbolically represents rebirth and death. Along with the Doc’s frequent pleas to Jin Sook to leave this dark field, I honestly think she is going to die.
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Also, both Hyung Min and Shin Hyun have both been shown inside an elevator with the doors closing in. They also met face to face again in front of an elevator. If only he knew Doctor’s Son was right in front of him…

Acting

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Now that we’ve seen more of Nam Gyu Ri’s face, I have more of a feeling for how her acting is. How can I say this…She’s doing pretty well. For me, she has never been an actress who moves me emotionally as many times as I’ve seen her. But out of all of the characters she’s played, I like her a lot here and I can see her trying. Maybe she’s playing her character so well, that I’m actually believing her for the noob cop that she is which makes me think that her acting is mediocre. What I do know (hinting at ep 9+10) is that I look forward to her chemistry with Jung Kyung Ho.

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Other Musings

*This scene reminded me of Kill Bill.

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*Omo! I burst out laughing when Shi Hyun peeled off his mustache and took off his hipster glasses. So much for a disguise. Those guys must be idiots to not figure out that one.

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*Sometimes I can’t take Pusan too seriously, because when he smiles he looks super cute. A cute haraboji.

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Heartless City continues to air with 10 more episodes left, I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. Beware though, locking eyes with Jung Kyung Ho might induce several mini heart attacks. 

Official Heartless City Website: http://drama.jtbc.co.kr/moojeong/
Official JTBC Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/jtbcdrama?feature=watch

DON’T LOOK, DON’T LOOK, DON’T LOOOOOOOK!!!!
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