I was not planning on regularly writing posts about Heartless City because I enjoy watching it rather than writing about it. But since I have already started to do so, I should finish it. Let’s just say this might be my favorite drama of 2013, and when it finishes I will definitely watch it again. We are now hammering at some of the core themes of this drama, one of which I am very much interested in: Humanism.
Safari reminded Hyung Min that undercovers are also human, and it’s a fact we easily forget. Shi Hyun was instructed by Min to ultimately find Busan’s weakness and infiltrate his organization. Instead, we are seeing that the closer Shi Hyun gets to doing that, the more his own weaknesses are being revealed. He was keen on not allowing any of his emotions to get in the way of his work, and despite having a fixed focus on his mission, little by little he has been affected by this drug world. Not to mention he now loves a woman, and we all know love can make things very messy. It is the very fact that every one of these characters are human that we cannot paint this whole picture in black and white. We cannot say there are “good” guys and “bad” guys. Good and bad coexists in everyone. It is also innately present in us to seek for comfort and emotional attachment, and unfortunately as hard as we may try, it is something we cannot denounce.
Important Plot Developments
-Soo Min falls in love with Shi Hyun. It’s hard for me to be convinced that Doctor’s Son who has been in the drug ring for a number of years now does not seem like he has kept any girls by his side. Now Soo Min comes along, and all of a sudden he has fallen in love with her..It’s very weird to me. Both of them loving each other will lead to their fall, and it’s inevitable.
-Jin Sook tells Soo Min to make a deal for her. This creates a cascade of events which includes the big secret that Safari was once a police officer and became an undercover cop put in place by Min.
-Doctor’s Son joins hands with Chairman Jo. Well he doesn’t really join hands, but rather submits to the devilish guy. In order for Doctor’s Son to get to Busan, he needs to get through Chairman Jo. This will allow him to get some goods which he doesn’t have, and finally get revenue circulating to become even stronger in the business.
-Jin Sook links hands with Safari and his crew and kills Chairman Jo. The police are scrambling around trying to figure out if Chairman Jo is Doctor’s Son which Hyung Min does not buy. This of course completely upsets Busan, and Doctor’s Son finally ends up meeting him. But because Busan is now aware of Soo Min’s presence and significance to Shi Hyun, he will in fact keep his promise of ending her life.
-Chief Min made Shi Hyun and Moon undercover cops, and also used Jin Sook to leak information. He keeps sending out undercover cops, not telling anyone about them, neither telling the undercover cops themselves that their partners are among them. His behavior is very strange. I want to know why he wants to catch Busan so badly..he’s just using people just like he did with Lee Jin Sook, and then dropping them when he doesn’t need them. The first scene of this drama showed him in a car crumpling up an award he got for his service…why show him? Why show him doing that act..isn’t he suppose to be a police officer? Isn’t he happy that he is receiving praise for upholding the law? Well the only reason he would do such a thing is if in the shadows, without anyone knowing..he really isn’t.
-Doctor’s Son sets up Busan to get arrested. This very act helps unveil even more corruption within the justice system. Hyung Min’s father seems to be an acquaintance of Busan which seems very fishy to me.
-Safari did not kill Shi Hyun’s mother or Kyung Mi.
-Contrast Shots: Light vs. Dark:
The contrast shots are becoming even harder to find. All of the shots below are significant in the context they are in. Safari is darkly seen in the midst of low warm light before his relationship with Min is revealed. Doctor’s Son is shot at a very low angle because in this case, he is above Hyung Min and Soo Min since he has found out that they know each other. We also see Busan releasing his anger over his son’s death in a bathroom stall. It’s as if his whole world is dark, and the only thing that was of importance of him was his son. The next one is the most interesting to me. A fan is spinning and casting a shadow over Shi Hyun’s face. It’s as if the director is literally showing the internal battle Shi Hyun is facing with himself. As if he is plucking flower petals to decide what decision to make. Lastly, Doctor’s Son is greatly illuminated through a window while Scale sits in normal lighting. At that point in time, Doctor’s Son was the only hope for Scale and for his son.
-Viewer becomes an outsider looking in:
Even if contrast shots are decreasing, the outsider shots increase but more so that the viewer can see characters interacting. I love the shot with Jin Sook and Safari, it shows a bar separating the two of them. This takes place during the scene where it seems Safari is saying a final goodbye to her.
There seems to be a number of close up shots on Shi Hyun’s eyes which is expected but also on Soo Min’s. They are now emotionally attached and important to one another. There are also a number of close-ups on objects and hands. The liquor glass is filled to the rim practically spilling over. Time is running out…
-Backed turned on camera shot:
Oh Min why is your back turned on the camera but not Shi Hyun’s? Min is still trying to play the puppet game and Shi Hyun will eventually break away from that. I find it super interesting that both of them have started to meet up in a church. Here they have their back turned on the camera, but when Shi Hyun faces Min about his mother, they are facing towards the camera.
-Slightly tilted birds eyes view:
I can now say that the overhead shots in this drama are used for us viewers to see the relationship between two characters. It is the only shot that gives us power as viewers, and the director always uses them for fated relationships.
The long mirror in Soo Min’s room is a cinematic favorite. Reflections in mirrors can symbolize a number of themes. In this context, it could depict Soo Min’s confusion or internal instability in terms of emotion. I would like to see how the director is further going to link Soo Min with a mirror. Will the mirror break and shatter eventually? What stands out even more to me is in the teaser, the mirror shows both Soo Min and Shi Hyun’s reflection in the mirror and it’s upside down!
*After watching the teaser again, I realized that a gunshot sounds. Until now…pretty much all the gangsters have been rolling with a knife in hand or a stick. Besides the police (and the sniper), no one has wielded a gun. So will Shi Hyun really die by Hyung Min’s hands? Or maybe the shot is for Soo Min.
*Even though Min might be a total baddy and manipulator, I love the fact that he he has the hots for Jin Sook. When he linked his arm with hers rather than grabbing her by the wrist I kinda squealed. I find their love/hate relationship so compelling. He does look much older than her, but when he smiles..gahhhhh.
Official Heartless City Website: http://drama.jtbc.co.kr/moojeong/
Official JTBC Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/jtbcdrama?feature=watch