Flash Review – Heartless City [Cruel City]
It’s a common belief that good wine requires time.
It took me quite a long time to appreciate Heartless City. This was difficult for me to understand.
While a lot of my drama-loving friends fell in instant over this show (and some felt an instant disconnect), I fell somewhere in that vague no man’s land of not hating it, but not loving it either.
The show later redressed that issue by creeping closer to me and holding firm on my heart during the later episodes, so much to the point that once I reached the end, I actually went right back to the beginning to do an incomplete replay. While it might sound crazy but it’s actually true.
or my appreciation is kinda good wine?
TOP 3 PICKS
1. Demonstrate the general handling
Cinematography, music, tone, vibe
When I think of the show’s presentation and tone beautiful and dark are the two words that come into my thoughts. Cinematography that is crisp and polished is dark and beautiful; the music is gorgeous and dark as is the overall atmosphere and tone of any given scene is beautiful and dark.
My dissonance and fascination are caused by the fact that although the world is full of things that move swiftly in the world, there’s a distinct tranquility which pervades it.
The Show’s sardonic and sensuous flavor transcends the world’s speed. This contrast between the slow-paced and the lengthy is among the main factors to Show being cool.
Like the OST It has a similar languid style. Sometimes, these tracks seem a little sad and also possess a bit of edge.
Mostly, the rhythm is slow, but not unrelentingly fast and infused with a trance-like flavor. It’s both an atmospheric and hypnotic sound, which makes it perfect for this drama’s cryptic world.
This show has an assured storytelling style, but it is also completely unpredictable.
This show is similar to trying to put together a puzzle that is made of shifting pieces.
It’s like you’re trying to keep your balance as you move on rapidly shifting sand. It’s challenging and exciting, but also very tiring.
The narrative perspective shifts a lot, from the viewpoint of the police officers, to the point-of-view of the members of the shadowy and secretive drug gang that the police are trying to crack, and then back to.
It is something that consistently impacts our lives as people who are a part of the audience.
Writer-nim depicts a world where there is no white nor black. Everything is a mass composed of various shades of grey. It’s an unending drama world that continues to unfold, revealing the hidden corners and a depth that we never imagined.
Show does a great job of causing confusion in our heads, which seems to be the primary goal of writer-nim.
One of the things that the Show does well, is turning stuff on its upside.
As important information is made available to us and everything is put into its new context looks entirely different, just as it does when a kaleidoscope spins. The brain is spun as our brains race to make new connections.
Episode 4 Episode 4: When Baksa, Jung Kyung Ho discovers that she is an undercover agent, everything I have learned about the story has changed.
Baksa has a mission to defeat the drug lords who are at the highest levels.
Why he tossed the phone away so Kyung M (Go Na Eun) would not be in contact with him. It wasn’t because he was in violation of the law. It was just to allow Hyung Min.
Show is known for its twisty and funny moments, such as Safari (Choi Mo Sung) as an undercover officer.
While I am of the opinion that twistiness is generally a good thing, Show was definitely too extravagant with it. It also resulted in the demise of the thrill effect in the last scene.
It was a bit late that, with Show continuously pulling reveals like this from its sleeves, it no more sounded like a surprise when someone was revealed to be a dirty cop or an undercover agent.
I mean, seriously it became quite ridiculous at the end of the show; it was like that the entire drug underworld was made up of police undercover, which, ha.
Note to writer: There Is the notion of Too Many Good Things, After All.
But that big-scale twistiness is one of the main reasons I went back to the beginning once more after reaching the end, thus, that’s it.
When I discovered the identities of all undercover agents and dirty cops I was eager to see how the whole thing looked. It was as if I was watching a completely different show.
2. Jung Kyung Ho as Shi Hyun/Baksa
Jung Kyung Ho’s performance in this show is pure perfection.
Jung Kyung Ho returned from MS with an entirely new kind of charm and charisma that I find absolutely mesmerizing.
Jung Kyung Ho plays Baksa with a stunning multi-layered intriguing, and intense character. With his sleek suits and impeccable hairstyles He doesn’t look a street gangster. However, he does have an unmistakable chilling, shivering vibe around him.
Jung Kyung Ho does it all she does, from channeling the cold-a-ice crime lord, to unleashing her fast-assing badassery to revealing Baksa’s vulnerabilities,
Perfection. You say.
Jung Kyung Ho, who has a tattoo on her back that is full-back Slim and muscular.
WOWZA. Absolutely stunning.
I love the fact that Baksa is cool and unruffled all the time Except for abrupt bursts of violence that are necessary. Baksa seems more dangerous than ever, because you never really know when he’ll unleash the ninja within him.
The inner Ninja with the hawk’s eye is always in the loop, observing and analyzing the situation and sharply judging when intervention is needed. It’s awe-inspiringly cool.
Baksa is the perfect combination of a mysterious and hands-on crime lord which I find fascinating and engaging.
If you were as smartly dressed as Baksa to just issue orders and allow his subordinates to take over the work. Not so Baksa.
It’s a bit of joy, that Baksa’s name has been revered by many, but his appearance is well-known to so few. Baksa is able to walk among people and do his own investigation (like in episode 6) and without anyone even knowing that he Baksa.
He talks to Attorney Ahn (“Kim Jung Hak”) several times and is referred to as “President Jung.” I found it funny and funny that Attorney Ahn doesn’t really know who he’s dealing.
The terrifying badassery
Baksa, when all dressed up, appears almost scholarly. Baksa is quick and deadly when he engages in fighting moves. He can knock down his opponents with remarkable speed.
This unexpected quality in his badassery is what I love about him. The dissonance between his inner scholar and his inner ninja my favorite thing.
It’s surprising, given Jung Kyung Ho is more tough than brute. And it’s always enjoyable to watch Baksa leave behind scores of bigger buffer men.
As you can see in the episode 7 scene, Baksa is refreshingly and not dressed in the suit. Instead, she wears the sleeveless shirt that’s shining and sinewy to take out drug dealer men with a ratio of 10 to 1. It is indeed very sad.
Baksa remains an amazing character. I’m excited to watch him in his cold, precise, and efficient action. It’s remarkable to see him take down several armed enemies all by himself.
This is what I would call a full-on scary cool badass.
Baksa is simply mesmerizing. He’s calm and quiet yet precise and swift – and ruthless. Talk about taking bad boy up a notch.
The tender heart hidden
Baksa does not have any sharp edges, however, Baksa is extremely loyal to the ones who are near to him.
His consistent encouragement to Soo Yoon Hyun Min as well as Jin Sook Kim Yoo Mi to leave the firm shows how much he cherishes them, not just as business contacts but also as individuals and as members of the family.
Also Director Min receives a brand new briefcase from him because he shot the one that he already owned. That was an absolute delight. (The presentation of the new briefcase thing and not the shooting part, just so we’re clear Heh.)
Baksa may not always be just as sweet as he is however that doesn’t prevent him from showing true love. It’s amazing how this can make Baksa a human and humane, particularly when contrasted with how cold and calculated the rest of his life.
Jung Kyung Ho’s amazing delivery
Jung Kyung Ho’s Baksa performance is captivating, entertaining and absolutely captivating. He has reached every milestone in his journey.
Innocent Shi Hyun is as convincing as Jaded Baksa.
There are many amazing moments Jung Kyung Ho can perform as Baska. But, I’m going to concentrate my attention on episode 8 in which Safari hits Baksa in the neck with an iron rod.
Baksa suffers from pain that is unbearable and she falls to the floor. Jung Kyung Ho does an excellent job of dismantling it. It’s clear that he went to the extreme for this scene. As his face begins to swell due to the pain is almost painful.
Baksa is in a state of physical pain and despair. When his thoughts turn back to happier times with Safari it is clear that he feels betrayed and depressed.
Augh. Such a great scene, even if it was really hard to see.
3. The bromance
Baksa and Soo’s bromance is legendary. The two are so dedicated to each other that they regularly and literally sacrifice their lives to each one. Nothing screams bromance like being willing to sacrifice everything for the other.
Baksa’s last request to Safari at the 8th episode is about saving Soo. Baksa literally asks for Soo’s help as a gift in exchange for his own. This is true love at its finest.
Baksa rescues Soo from the authorities who stopped Safari’s plans of killing him. It’s loyalty and love in the best way, and I am moved by it.
STuff I threw around I TRUGGLED WITH IT AGAIN The top 3
1. This drama world truly is dark
People who know me well are aware that I’m not usually a fan of dark things. I enjoy a well told story no matter the setting. However, given the option between light and happy and dark and frightening, my preference would be to go with light and happy.
It’s true, that’s what has brought me to the my place in dramaland. To be happy and lighthearted to escape the grim realities of Real Life.
This means that I was able to appreciate the dark beauty of Heartless City, but deep down, there was an unease at the heart level for me. Despite growing to love the characters and being disturbed by the story, it was still disturbing my heart.
In this world, nobody’s clear-cut good or bad. Everyone’s a different shade. Everyone is messing up things. The connections between them are also murky. There is little trust in anyone and virtually no one believes what they claim to be saying. A
Additionally, in this age everything is a commodity. Position. Power. Drugs. Money. Sex. Life. Everything is murky.
The show’s dark and intoxicating style makes you feel dizzy and overwhelmed. The show was loved by many viewers, but I.. didn’t.
It was a majorly disturbing experience to me. It was hard to come to terms with my displeasure over this dark story.
Here’s an illustration of a character who is flawed that is too disturbing for my taste.
In episode 4, Hyung Min forces Soo Min into becoming an undercover agent. I found this disturbing on multiple levels:
1, The woman is going to be placed in a dangerous situation, and she is not trained in any way, to assist her in defending herself;
2. Soo Min will be forced to prostitute herself in order to cover her costs. Kyung Mi will never let it happen.
3, HyungMin basically doesn’t let her make a decision in the matter.
4. In the end, he believes it’s the sole thing that can help Soo Min. This is so absurd I don’t know how to even.
5, Hyung Min actually does have evidence to clear Soo Min of the charges. So, he may have withheld evidence so that he could force her to hide.
OMG. All of this combined made me so mad at Hyung Min that it caused me to start to dislike him. In addition, he regards Soo Min as a source for information and treats her with a lack of empathy.
Hyung Min’s poor behavior could be explained by his feelings of grief, loss, and anger. However, viewers may argue that Hyung Min’s behavior is an indication of his character. This episode illustrates that Hyung Min’s an absolute jerk.
Instead of defending Soo Min, as Kyung Mi would have preferred He forces Soo Min into a degrading and risky situation, and then withdraws all emotional support from her. Blech.
2. The concept of power
The struggle for power and power are constant themes throughout the series. We see this all the time in the realm of kill-or-be-killed which our characters inhabit in, where you have the option of killing friends to increase your power.
The aspect of power I’d like to explore here however, is the perception of power of women who are part of our drama world.
When I was watching the show, I’d come across effusive comments from other viewers of how powerful they felt the women were in this show, from the glamour, makeup, the fashion and the heels, to the way that the women made a difference to the plot.
The issue is that, even with all my efforts, I’m not able to see my female friends as powerful. In fact I could not help to think of them as sad. They’re actually prostituting themselves, even though they believe they’re in control. authority.
Jin Sook’s words to Soo Min, episode 7 My personal favorite.
“You require money to live however, there are no alternatives. There’s no place that can make you feel like a pig. All you have is your body so you’ve chosen to be yourself. You have some pride left. You don’t want to be sad, but the tears won’t stop pouring in.
You want curse and scream. Since people might consider you insane, you won’t be able to. The majority of the flings in the world are just exactly like that. It’s not because she’s in love with it.
It’d be crazy if one did this because they loved it. It’s possible that you will get used to it over time. It will be a feeling .”
There’s a clear sense of sadness and pathos which is apparent in Jin Sook’s words, and it’s evident that she has this feeling, even after all these years in the business. Although she appears to be a powerful person but she’s actually a victim of a vicious system.
This is in line with my previous point regarding my experiences with the show. Everyone is twisted and sick and each one of us is a victim to corruption, greed, and power.
3. It can be difficult to keep it all straight in your head
The name of this segment is self-explanatory. Let me just say, this is not an easy show to watch.
There are so many characters who don’t have the same name, that it may be difficult to figure out who’s the person and what their relationship is to. Additionally, the show has the capability of disseminating game-changing information at regular intervals.
I’ve already mentioned this It is crucial to determine which aspects of your knowledge about the story or the characters you still hold each time the Show gives one of these pieces information.
It’s a complex and intricate web that writer-nim weaves and the impossibility of keeping all the connecting threads and dots straight within your head is almost something you can expect.
This was true for me, at the very least. Personally I had a hard time to keep my focus at all times during the program.
THE CHEAPEST STUFF
I feel like I’ve already hinted at the show’s tendency to feel repetitive towards the end of its run, so I’ll just draw attention to the other thing that didn’t work so well for me, in this particular episode.
I might be in the wrong in this instance but I’m going to admit that I have never believed in the OTP’s message of love.
The interactions between them seemed to be erratic and unintelligible. It was all a series of chance encounters that resulted in deeper connections between them. It was not natural to me.
Sometimes romance is not logical and only driven by attraction or the chemistry. This is an instance where I wasn’t convinced by OTP’s claimed attraction or the chemistry.
Nam Gyu Ri’s voice is the primary reason why I think it’s so difficult. Although she clearly shows she’s trying, I still find her voice to be off-putting. There are occasions where Jung Kyung Ho sells it enough for two of them however overall, the pair has never really worked for me.
The combination of an inconsistency driving behaviour and awkward delivery to create an unnatural-feeling effect is evident every time Soo Min pushes in Shi Hyun’s area during earlier episodes’ chance meetings.
Every time Soo Min spots Shi Hyun, she behaves in a way that is unnaturally over-friendly, even though Shi Hyun’s stern face and unfriendly reaction give her no reason to act in that manner.
Despite almost getting stabbed in the face after running after him. She also made the mistake trying to touch him.
I mean, who would do that? Although she is supposed to be an impulsive person, it’s difficult to imagine that someone would be this way, especially when Nam Gyu Ri’s delivery is so bright.
Furthermore, the kiss and subsequent sex in episode 9 and 10 don’t seem natural or organic to the story or characters.
I understand. Shi Hyun may feel lost inside. Soo Min’s casual warmth makes him feel relaxed and allows him to make connections with her.
The truth is, that it did not feel natural to both of the times I watched it and I required just to understand it.
In light of the extent of issues Shi Hyun is facing, it’s difficult to imagine him looking to be sexy and have kisses.
Jung Kyung Ho is just as sexy as ever in the kissing scene and during the bed scene. It’s just so sensuous and swoony. Puddle.
To be clear I’m awestruck by the numerous efforts by writer-nim in the following years, to show us that Shi Hyun and Soo Min have more in common than just a one night stand. It just didn’t feel like enough to me.
Show could have opted to accentuate or remove the lovelines. I prefer that. I think either way it would have made this feel like a stronger drama.
Thoughts on the SECOND
To be completely honest, I didn’t enjoy the ending.
When we reach the end of the show the show is crammed with undercover cops, unaware they are everyone else is undercover police officers, so much so that it’s funny.
Baksa was the right-hand man of an undercover officer all along, without realizing that Baksa also works undercover. Baksa pursued Safari all the time, unaware that Safari is also undercover. Soo Min has been undercover, trying to catch Baksa however, he is unaware that Baksa actually is undercover.
It’s astonishing how many tags we can create and the fact that it happens between undercover cops. It’s ridiculous, really.
At the end, almost everyone dies. This is incredibly tragic. Shi Hyun’s death is sudden and almost unplanned, which is even more tragic. For those who aren’t die are left to live with tears in their eyes. This is really quite sad.
Show provides some hopeful signs. Shi Hyun’s voiceover towards the end, and the image of Shi Hyun showing his back, wearing white clothing, are both evidence of that.
However, it feels like a comfort blanket that dramas frequently take out. This alternate fantasy universe is not logical and has nothing to do with the plot of the drama.
It’s hard to believe Shi Hyun is still out there somewhere, still being an wicked scumbag. But, believing he’s alive is better than believing he’s deceased.
Show, although I wasn’t able to hold on to my heart till the very last episode, was truly incredible to watch.
Baksa was a tragically isolated and ultimately a likable badass character that Show has stayed in my mind long even after the credits.
Show is a stunning, unique meteorite, even with its imperfections.
Show shines brightly, as an meteorite, as it burns itself into ashes in its journey through the air. It’s almost as if Show was burning its characters to ashes and revealing the beauty which is the fire.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Although darkly beautiful, and intricately twisty, the film is also a bit disorienting and confusing. Jung Kyung Ho is incredible in this. It’s a great way to make everything worth it.