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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Stay Still"

2015/03/13 | Permalink

Chan-soo (played by Lee Moon-shik) is a detective who's part of a larger team of detectives who all seem to genuinely dislike each other. "Drama Special - Stay Still" doesn't exactly do a good job setting the stage for empathizing with its characters. Throughout most of the first episode it's quite rare to see any of the characters acting particularly pleasant to each other. They're not monstrous or anything it's just...they're not much of a team.

Their kids are somwhat better adjusted- and I mean that in the most limited possible way. Joon-sik (played by Lee Joo-seung) is grouchy, but he's nice enough. He seems to have some sort of romantic tension going on with Da-mi (played by Chae Bin). And in turn, we also have another young character, Min-hyeok (played by Park Gun-tae) who rather clearly has a crush on Da-mi. It's unclear whether or not she's actually figured this out.

Now as for the plot...well, for that much you'll have to wait until the second episode. The first is rather slow in the pacing department. Now that the increase in action is much help- in the immediate sense it just begs a lot of logical problems. Do the police not know how to run a sting operation? Why bother showing us a shot of a SWAT team if the characters aren't going to use it? And what gangsters are dumb enough to commit crimes right in front of the cops, rather than just going to the back room?

The contrived nature of the circumstances of the tragedy are not inherently dealbreaking problems here. But the subpar way "Drama Special - Stay Still" manages its characterization absolutely is. The true tragic death here is, frankly speaking, almost completely pointless. I know teenagers can lose their marbles sometimes, what with hormones and everything, but what we see here goes entirely beyond any emotional reaction. Especially because at one point, the attack halts. And we don't even get to see the conclusion- apparently there was another burst of rage after the calm.

All of these basic logical failures add up. I can see what "Drama Special - Stay Still" is trying to do. It's dramatizing a man who loses everything that matters to his life, and he then proceeds to scream in rage at the cruel unforgiving world that's contrived to put him into this mess. The problem is that it's not the world that's done this but rather the machinations of the screenwriter. The sheer implausibilities, incompetence, and unlikability of the characters ultimately doom "Drama Special - Stay Still", rendering it a rather unfortunate misfire in a normally strong brand name.

Review by William Schwartz

"Drama Special - Stay Still" is directed by Kim Jong-yeon, written by Son Se-rin and features Lee Moon-shik, Lee Joo-seung, Chae Bin and Park Gun-tae.

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